nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2015‒04‒11
four papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Online social networks and trust By Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
  2. Has ICT polarized skill demand? Evidence from eleven countries over 25 years By Guy Michaels; Ashwini Natraj; John Van Reenen
  3. Competing one-way essential complements: the forgotten side of net neutrality By Broos, Sébastien; Gautier, Axel
  4. Virtually No Effect? Different Uses of Classroom Computers and their Effect on Student Achievement By Falck, Oliver; Mang, Constantin; Woessmann, Ludger

  1. By: Fabio Sabatini; Francesco Sarracino
    Abstract: We explore how participation in social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter affects the most economically relevant aspect of social capital, trust. We use measures of trust in strangers (or social trust), trust in neighbours and trust in the police. We address endogeneity in the use of SNS by exploiting the variation in the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet, which relates to technological characteristics of the pre- existing voice telecommunication infrastructures. We find that all the proxies of trust significantly decrease with participation in online networks. We discuss several interpretations of the results in light of the specific features of Internet-mediated social interaction.
    Keywords: Internet; broadband; online networks; social networking sites; Facebook; trust; social capital; hate speech.
    JEL: C36 D85 O33 Z1
    Date: 2015–04–04
  2. By: Guy Michaels; Ashwini Natraj; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: We test the hypothesis that information and communication technologies (ICT) “polarize” labor markets, by increasing demand for the highly educated at the expense of the middle educated, with little effect on low-educated workers. Using data on the US, Japan, and nine European countries from 1980–2004, we find that industries with faster ICT growth shifted demand from middle educated workers to highly educated workers, consistent with ICT-based polarization. Trade openness is also associated with polarization, but this is not robust to controlling for R&D. Technologies account for up to a quarter of the growth in demand for highly educated workers.
    Keywords: technology; skill demand; polarization; wage inequality
    JEL: J24 O33 J23
    Date: 2014–03
  3. By: Broos, Sébastien (Université de Liège, HEC Management School, Belgium); Gautier, Axel (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE, Belgium)
    Abstract: We analyze the incentives of internet service providers (ISPs) to break net neutrality by excluding internet applications competing with their own products, a typical example being the exclusion of VoIP applications by telecom companies offering internet and voice services. Exclusion is not a concern when the ISP is a monopoly because it can extract the additional surplus created by the application through price rebalancing. When ISPs compete, it could lead to a fragmented internet where only one firm offers the application. We show that, both in monopoly and duopoly, prohibiting the exclusion of the app and surcharges for its use –a strong form of net neutrality– is not welfare improving.
    Keywords: net neutrality, foreclosure, one-way essential complements
    JEL: L12 L13 L51 L96
    Date: 2014–12–15
  4. By: Falck, Oliver (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Mang, Constantin (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Woessmann, Ludger (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Most studies find little to no effect of classroom computers on student achievement. We suggest that this null effect may combine positive effects of computer uses without equivalently effective alternative traditional teaching practices and negative effects of uses that substitute more effective teaching practices. Our correlated random effects models exploit within-student between-subject variation in different computer uses in the international TIMSS test. We find positive effects of using computers to look up information and negative effects of using computers to practice skills, resulting in overall null effects. Effects are larger for high-SES students and mostly confined to developed countries.
    Keywords: computers, teaching methods, student achievement, TIMSS
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2015–03

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