nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2015‒07‒11
seven papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. ICT and education: evidence from student home addresses By Benjamin Faber; Rosa Sanchis-Guarner; Felix Weinhardt
  2. The economics of television and online video markets By Gregory S. Crawford
  3. Language, copyright and geographic segmentation in the EU Digital Single Market for music and film By Estrella Gomez Herrera; Bertin Martens
  4. Labor Demand and ICT Adoption in Spain By Manuel Hidalgo-Pérez; Jesús Rodríguez López; José M. Okean
  5. Ill communication: technology, distraction & student performance By Louis-Philippe Beland; Richard Murphy
  6. Commercial and regulatory challenges for postal e-services in Switzerland By Christian Jaag; Martin Maegli; Denis Morel
  7. Postal strategies in a digital age By Christian Jaag; Urs Trinkner; José Parra Moyano

  1. By: Benjamin Faber; Rosa Sanchis-Guarner; Felix Weinhardt
    Abstract: Governments are making it a priority to upgrade information and communication technologies (ICT) with the aim to increase available internet connection speeds. This paper presents a new strategy to estimate the causal effects of these policies, and applies it to the questions of whether and how ICT upgrades affect educational attainment. We draw on a rich collection of microdata that allows us to link administrative test score records for the population of English primary and secondary school students to the available ICT at their home addresses. To base estimations on exogenous variation in ICT, we notice that the boundaries of usually invisible telephone exchange station catchment areas give rise to substantial and essentially randomly placed jumps in the available ICT across neighboring residences. Using this design across more than 20,000 boundaries in England, we find that even very large changes in available internet speeds have a precisely estimated zero effect on educational attainment. Guided by a simple model we then bring to bear additional microdata on student time and internet use to quantify the potentially opposing mechanisms underlying the zero reduced form effect. We find that jumps in the available ICT have no significant effect on student time spent studying online or offline, or on their productivity. Finally, while faster connections appear to increase student consumption of online content, we find that the elasticity of student demand for online content with respect to its time cost is negative but bounded by -1.
    Keywords: Education; information and communication technology; internet
    JEL: D83 I20
    Date: 2015–06
  2. By: Gregory S. Crawford
    Abstract: Television is the dominant entertainment medium for hundreds of millions. This chapter surveys the economic forces that determine the production and consumption of this content. It presents recent trends in television and online video markets, both in the US and internationally, and describes the state of theoretical and empirical research on these industries. A number of distinct themes emerge, including the growing importance of the pay-television sector, the role played by content providers (channels), distributors, and negotiations between them in determining market outcomes, and concerns about the effects of market power throughout this vertical structure. It also covers important but unsettled topics including the purpose for and effects of both the old (Public Service Broadcasters) and the new (online video markets). Open theoretical and empirical research questions are highlighted throughout.
    Keywords: Economics, television, online video, public service broadcasting, advertising, pay television, bundling, bargaining, market power, net neutrality, foreclosure, policy
    JEL: L82 L86 L32 M37 C72 D40 L40 L50
    Date: 2015–06
  3. By: Estrella Gomez Herrera (European Commission – JRC - IPTS); Bertin Martens (European Commission – JRC - IPTS)
    Abstract: The EU seeks to create a seamless online Digital Single Market for media products such as digital music and film. The territoriality of the copyright regime is often perceived as an obstacle that induces geographical segmentation. This paper provides empirical evidence on the extent of market segmentation in the EU on the supply and demand side and measures the contribution of several drivers of this market segmentation. We use data from the Apple iTunes country stores in 27 EU Member States to measure geographical market segmentation in supply (availability), demand (sales) and prices across the EU for downloadable digital music and film. We find that availability of EU media products across country stores in the EU is close to 80% for music and 40% for films but only 27% for EU-produced films. Recent industry initiatives to reduce the transaction costs of making digital music available across borders result in a reasonably wide availability though still short of the 100% mark. Vertical agreements in the supply chain of films remain an obstacle for wider availability of digital films. Consumer preference variables such as cultural proximity, a shared language or border and inherent preferences for home market products are the main drivers for the observed geographical market segmentation in supply and demand patterns. Supply side factors including copyright-related trade costs probably still play a role though we can only infer this indirectly in the absence of data on copyright licensing arrangements at product level. Commercial strategies in general and competition-restricting territorial agreements in film distribution in particular will also reduce availability. We also find evidence of price differentiation across iTunes EU country stores, correlated with overall country price levels.
    Keywords: digital music, online trade, music downloads, trade in cultural products, gravity model, cultural diversity
    JEL: F15 O52
    Date: 2015–04
  4. By: Manuel Hidalgo-Pérez (Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Jesús Rodríguez López (U. Pablo de Olavide); José M. Okean (U. Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: Spain is delayed in adopting information and communication technologies (ICT) and its productivity per hour worked presents a downward trend since the mid 90s. In this paper we argue that these two facts are related. Using the EU KLEMS dataset we test the capital-skill complementarity hypothesis in a cross-section of sectors in Spain. We find that the substitutability between workers and ICT assets falls as worker skill level rises, and that this feature holds across all sectors. Further- more, the ICT assets are complementary with skilled workers. The fraction of workers employed with medium and high skills across sectors rose by 21% and 12%, respectively, to the disadvantage of low skilled workers, due to an adjustment within sectors more than to a composition effect between sectors. Finally, using a regression analysis, we conclude that some labor market institutions are likely behind the evolution of sectorial productivity and ICT investment in Spain.
    Keywords: Productivity, TFP, ICT, education
    JEL: I24 J24 O40
    Date: 2015–07
  5. By: Louis-Philippe Beland; Richard Murphy
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of schools banning mobile phones on student test scores. By surveying schools in four English cities regarding their mobile phone policies and combining it with administrative data, we find that student performance in high stakes exams significantly increases post ban. We use a difference in differences (DID) strategy, exploiting variations in schools’ autonomous decisions to ban these devices, conditioning on a range of student characteristics and prior achievement. Our results indicate that these increases in performance are driven by the lowestachieving students. This suggests that restricting mobile phone use can be a low-cost policy to reduce educational inequalities.
    Keywords: Mobile phones; technology; student performance; productivity
    JEL: I21 I28 J24 O33
    Date: 2015–05
  6. By: Christian Jaag; Martin Maegli; Denis Morel
    Abstract: Swiss Post has been innovating for years, strengthening its expertise as an actor in the digital world and exploiting the unique selling propositions it owns in the physical world. The emergence of the internet in combination with gradual liberalization has given rise to new customer needs, increased and changing competition as well as new business models in the postal sector. The rationale for Swiss Post’s investment in postal e-services is twofold: First, new ser-vices may enhance the value of traditional services by adding complementary services; second, they may compensate losses due to the progressing substitution of physical letter mail which progresses at a rate of about 2 percent per year. This paper documents digital postal services in Switzerland in the context of the postal regulatory and business environment. The paper wraps up the development of postal e-services in Switzerland, puts it in a commercial and regulatory perspective and provides an outlook to future developments.
    Keywords: Postal Sector, Strategy, Electronic Substitution, Switzerland, Regulation
    JEL: L43 L51
    Date: 2015–06
  7. By: Christian Jaag; Urs Trinkner; José Parra Moyano
    Abstract: Electronic communications impact all of postal operators’ businesses. While letter mail volumes are decreasing due to electronic substitutes, parcels are thriving. Postal operators react in differ-ent ways to these challenges and opportunities. Some try to compensate the loss in their mail business by converging their services toward telecommunications, e.g. by offering hybrid or electronic mail. Some focus on parcels and electronic commerce solutions. Some try to reduce their universal service obligations and try to cut costs. Some leverage their networks, e.g. post offices into banks or retail centers, or mail carriers into community service providers. And many apply a mix of those strategies. This paper explores various approaches by means of selected case studies and an overview of performance indicators. The indicators reveal particularly successful strategies, namely those that leverage infrastructure, reputation and competencies. Based on the results, generic strate-gies are derived. Special attention is given to the legal and regulatory environment which criti-cally affects the post’s ability to adopt a successful business strategy.
    Keywords: Postal Sector, Strategy, Electronic Substitution
    JEL: L43 L51
    Date: 2015–06

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