nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2015‒12‒01
twelve papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Innovative work practices, ICT use and employees' motivations By MARTIN Ludivine
  2. Net Neutrality, Vertical Integration, and Competition Between Content Providers By Juliane Fudickar
  3. Heterogeneity and diffusion in the digital economy: Spain’s case By Javier Alonso; Alfonso Arellano
  4. Development of High-speed Networks and the Role of Municipal Networks By Sam Paltridge
  5. 3D printing and the intellectual property system By Stefan Bechtold
  6. Predicting Road Conditions with Internet Search By Askitas, Nikos
  7. Breakthrough technologies - Robotics, innovation and intellectual property By Andrew Keisner; Julio Raffo; Sacha Wunsch-Vincent
  8. A Discontinuity Model of Technological Change: Catastrophe Theory and Network Structure By Heinrich, Torsten
  9. Heterogeneidad y difusion de la economia digital: el caso español By Javier Alonso; Alfonso Arellano
  10. The Role of the IT Revolution in Knowledge Diffusion, Innovation and Reallocation By Salome Baslandze
  11. Breakthrough technologies – Semiconductor, innovation and intellectual property By Thomas Hoeren; Francesca Guadagno; Sacha Wunsch-Vincent
  12. Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market By Benson, Alan; Sojourner, Aaron J.; Umyarov, Akhmed

  1. By: MARTIN Ludivine
    Abstract: I investigate the impact of innovative work practices and of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on employees' motivations. While the existing literature assumes that their positive effects on performance are due to employees' motivation but only assess related concepts, this paper directly analyses employees' motivations. The data come from a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2013. The paper provides new and interesting results on how firms can build a motivational environment shaped by work practices and ICT. I resort to an original empirical framework that permits one to take into account the potential reverse causation between, on the one hand, the voluntary participation in innovative work practices and the use of ICT and motivations on the other. Within this framework, I modify what previous analyses reveal about quality circle and training participation. The results confirm the positive role of work practices such as teamwork, quality norms, formal appraisals, management recognition and family-friendly policies on employee's positive attitudes. Moreover, I introduce a large range of ICT compared to existing research and find that the ICT that most contributed to the development of a motivational environment are those that facilitate access to information and knowledge such as workflow, Internet and e-mail.
    Keywords: Innovative work practices; information and communication technologies; Employees' motivations
    JEL: J81 L23 M12 M54
    Date: 2015–11
  2. By: Juliane Fudickar (Freie Universität Berlin)
    Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of a net neutrality regulation on the competition between content providers and the investment incentives of the internet service provider. We consider a situation where the monopoly internet service provider is vertically integrated with one of the content providers, and content providers compete in prices. Without net neutrality the vertical integrated firm can prioritise the delivery of its own content. We find that, under prioritisation, the integrated internet service provider and consumers as a whole are unambiguously better off. The competing content providers might also be better off under prioritisation if the congestion intensity is high. From a social welfare perspective prioritisation is also desirable unless product differentiation and congestion intensity are low. Contrary to some claims by internet service providers, we find that investment incentives are not always higher under prioritisation.
    Keywords: Vertical integration, Network neutrality, Competition, Investment
    JEL: L13 L41 L42 L88
    Date: 2015–09–07
  3. By: Javier Alonso; Alfonso Arellano
    Abstract: The traditional Bass model (Bass, 1969) for the adoption and diffusion of new products has customarily been used to gauge the speed at which new products were adopted in a market by estimating innovation (p) and imitation (q) parameters.
    Keywords: Developed Economies , Digital economy , Research , Spain , Working Paper
    JEL: O30 L81 L86
    Date: 2015–11
  4. By: Sam Paltridge
    Abstract: All OECD countries recognise the benefits that stem from high speed broadband networks and have made tremendous progress in recent years in fostering their deployment. Nonetheless, many challenges remain in terms of how to enhance and expand these networks to meet the growing demands of an increasingly digital economy and society. Although private investments have been the overwhelming source of finance for high speed networks in OECD countries, municipal networks have been used in a number of OECD countries to fill gaps or provide substantial areas of service in a region, city or smaller town and surrounding locations. This report examines some of the experience with these municipal broadband networks in selected OECD countries. Municipal networks are defined here as high speed networks that have been fully or partially facilitated, built, operated or financed by local governments, public bodies, utilities, organisations, or co-operatives that have some type of public involvement. The models and experience of these networks have varied from being highly successful to not meeting expectations. In some cases, they have provided welcome competition by offering an alternative infrastructure and have opened the market for retail Internet service providers by separating the basic infrastructure from services. In other cases, they have enabled the use of shared infrastructure. Some have built on a long tradition of municipalities providing services from entities owned by them, such as the provision of utility services like energy, water, gas, or cable television. Some have involved public private partnerships, others have been privatised following initial public ownership and some are community driven.
    Date: 2015–11–25
  5. By: Stefan Bechtold (ETH Zurich)
    Abstract: Three-dimensional (3D) printing – or “additive manufacturing” – technologies differ from traditional molding and casting manufacturing processes in that they build 3D objects by successively creating layers of material on top of each other. Rooted in manufacturing research of the 1980s, 3D printing has evolved into a broad set of technologies that could fundamentally alter production processes in a wide set of technology areas. This report investigates, from the perspective of an intellectual property scholar, how 3D printing technology has developed over the last few decades, how intellectual property rights have shaped this breakthrough innovation and how 3D printing technologies could challenge the intellectual property rights system in the future. As in other areas of innovation policy, the role of the intellectual property system in fostering innovation in 3D printing technologies is a complex one. It played a beneficial role in some instances (sometimes intended and sometimes unintended), and it may have played a neutral or detrimental role in other instances. Studying the progress of 3D printing technologies thereby also informs us about the intricate relationship between intellectual property and innovation.
    Keywords: Innovation, 3D printing, intellectual property.
    JEL: K29 L60 O30 O32 O34 O38
    Date: 2015–11
  6. By: Askitas, Nikos (IZA)
    Abstract: Traffic jams are an important problem both on an individual and on a societal level and much research has been done on trying to explain their emergence. The mainstream approach to road traffic monitoring is based on crowdsourcing roaming GPS devices such as cars or cell phones. These systems are expectedly able to deliver good results in reflecting the immediate present. To my knowledge there is as yet no system which offers advance notice on road conditions. Google Search intensity for the German word stau (i.e. traffic jam) peaks 2 hours ahead of the number of traffic jam reports as reported by the ADAC, a well known German automobile club and the largest of its kind in Europe. This is true both in the morning (7 am to 9 am) and in the evening (5 pm to 7 pm). I propose such searches as a way of forecasting road conditions. The main result of this paper is that after controlling for time of day and day of week effects we can still explain a significant portion of the variation of the number of traffic jam reports with Google Trends and we can thus explain well over 80% of the variation of road conditions using Google search activity. A one percent increase in Google stau searches implies a .4 percent increase of traffic jams. Our paper is a proof of concept that aggregate, timely delivered behavioural data can help fine tune modern societies.
    Keywords: stau, traffic jams, highways, road conditions, Google Trends, prediction, forecasting, complexity, endogeneity, behaviour, big data, data science, computational social science, complex systems
    JEL: R41
    Date: 2015–11
  7. By: Andrew Keisner (Attorney, Davis & Gilbert LLP, New York, New York, U.S.A); Julio Raffo (Economics and Statistics Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.); Sacha Wunsch-Vincent (Economics and Statistics Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.)
    Abstract: Robotics technology and the increasing sophistication of artificial intelligence are breakthrough innovations with significant growth prospects and the potential to disrupt existing economic and social facets of everyday life. Few studies have analyzed the developments of robotics innovation. This paper closes this gap by analyzing how innovation in robotics is taking place, how it diffuses, and what role intellectual property (IP) plays. The paper finds that robotics clusters are mainly located in the US, Europe, but increasingly also in the Republic of Korea and China. The robotics innovation ecosystem builds on cooperative networks of actors, including individuals, research institutions, and firms. Governments play a significant role in supporting robotics innovation, in particular through funding, military demand, and national robotics strategies. Robotics competitions and prizes provide for an important incentive to innovation. Patents are used to exclude third parties, to secure freedom to operate, to license technologies and to avoid litigation. The countries with the highest number of filings are Japan, China, Republic of Korea and the US. The growing stock of patents owned by universities and PROs, in particular in China, is noteworthy too. Automotive and electronics companies are still the largest patent filers, but new actors in fields such as medical technologies and the Internet are emerging. Secrecy is often used as a tool to appropriate innovation. Copyright protection is relevant to robotics too, mainly in its role in protecting software, and more recently in protecting so-called Netlists. Finally, proprietary approaches co-exist with open-source robotics platforms which are developing rapidly in robotics clusters.
    Keywords: Robotics; artificial intelligence; innovation; patents; trade secrets; copyrights.
    JEL: F23 L86 O3 L6
    Date: 2015–11
  8. By: Heinrich, Torsten
    Abstract: Discontinuities as a crucial aspect of economic systems have been discussed both verbally - particularly in institutionalist theory - and formally, chiefly using catastrophe theory. Catastrophe theory has, however, been criticized heavily for lacking micro-foundations and has mainly fallen out of use in economics and social sciences. The present paper proposes a simple catastrophe theory model of technological change with network externalities and reevaluates the value of such a model by adding an agent-based micro layer. To this end an agent-based variant of the model is proposed and investigated specifically with regard to the network structure among the agents. While the macro level of the model produces a classical cusp catastrophe - a result that is preserved in the agent-based form - it is found that the behavior of the model changes locally depending on the network structure, especially if networks with features that resemble social networks (low diameter, high clustering, power law distributed node degree) are considered. While the present work investigates merely an aspect out of a large possibility space, it encourages further research using agent-based catastrophe theory models especially of economic aspects to which catastrophe theory has previously successfully been applied; aspects such as technological and institutional change, economic crises, or industry structure.
    Keywords: network structures; agent-based modeling; catastrophe theory; information and communication technology; preferential attachment networks; technological change
    JEL: C63 D85 L14 L86
    Date: 2015–02–26
  9. By: Javier Alonso; Alfonso Arellano
    Abstract: El tradicional modelo de Bass (1969) sobre adopcion y difusion de nuevos productos ha servido tradicionalmente para medir la velocidad con la que se introducian nuevos productos en un mercado a traves de la estimacion de un parametro de innovacion (p) y otro de imitacion (q).
    Keywords: Documento de Trabajo , Economía Digital , Economías Desarrolladas , España , Investigación
    JEL: O30 L81 L86
    Date: 2015–11
  10. By: Salome Baslandze (UPenn)
    Abstract: What is the impact of information and communications technologies (ICT) on aggregate productivity growth and industrial reallocation? In this paper, I analyze the impact of ICT through facilitating knowledge diffusion in the economy. There are two opposing effects. The increased flow of ideas between firms and industries improves learning opportunities and spurs innovation. However, knowledge diffusion through ICT also results in broader accessibility of knowledge by competitors, reducing expected returns from research efforts and hence harming innovation incentives. The nature of the tradeoff between these opposing forces depends on an industry's technological characteristics, which I call external knowledge dependence. Industries whose innovations rely more on external knowledge benefit greatly from knowledge externalities and expand, while more self-contained industries are more affected by intensified competition and shrink. This results in the reallocation of innovation and production activities toward more externally-focused, ``knowledge-hungry'' industries. I develop a general equilibrium endogenous growth model featuring this mechanism. In the model, firms belonging to technologically heterogeneous industries learn from external knowledge and innovate. These firms' abilities to access external information is governed by ICT. Using NBER patent and citations data together with BEA industry-level data on ICT, I empirically validate the mechanism of the paper. Quantitative analysis from the calibrated model illustrates that it is important to account for both technological heterogeneity and the knowledge-diffusion role of ICT to explain U.S. trends in productivity growth and sectoral reallocation in recent decades. Counterfactual experiments are conducted to quantitatively assess separate channels and illustrate various growth decompositions.
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Thomas Hoeren (Institute for Information, Telecommunication and Media Law (ITM), University of Münster (Germany).); Francesca Guadagno (Economics and Statistics Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.); Sacha Wunsch-Vincent (Economics and Statistics Division, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.)
    Abstract: Semiconductor technology is at the origin of today’s digital economy. Its contribution to innovation, productivity and economic growth in the past four decades has been extensive. This paper analyzes how this breakthrough technology came about, how it diffused, and what role intellectual property (IP) played historically. The paper finds that the semiconductor innovation ecosystem evolved considerably over time, reflecting in particular the move from early - stage invention and first commercialization to mass production and diffusion. All phases relied heavily on contributions in fundamental science, linkages to public research and individual entrepreneurship. Government policy, in the form of demand-side and industrial policies were key. In terms of I P, patents were used intensively. However, they were often used as an effective means of sharing technology, rather than merely as a tool to block competitors. Antitrust policy helped spur key patent holders to set up liberal licensing policies. In contrast, and potentially as a cautionary tale for the future, the creation of new IP form s – the sui generis system to protect mask design - did not produce the desired outcome. Finally, copyright has gained in importance more recently.
    Keywords: semiconductors, innovation, patent, sui generis, copyright, intellectual property.
    JEL: O33 O34 O47 O38
    Date: 2015–11
  12. By: Benson, Alan (University of Minnesota); Sojourner, Aaron J. (University of Minnesota); Umyarov, Akhmed (University of Minnesota)
    Abstract: In two experiments, we examine the effects of employer reputation in an online labor market (Amazon Mechanical Turk) in which employers may decline to pay workers while keeping their work product. First, in an audit study of employers by a blinded worker, we find that working only for good employers yields 40% higher wages. Second, in an experiment that varied reputation, we find that good-reputation employers attract work of the same quality but at twice the rate as bad-reputation employers. This is the first clean, field evidence on the value of employer reputation. It can serve as collateral against opportunism in the absence of contract enforcement.
    Keywords: labor, personnel, contracts, online labor markets, job search, screening, reputation, online ratings
    JEL: L14 M55 J41 J2 L86 D82 K12 K42
    Date: 2015–11

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