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

  1. Development strategies for the information and communications technology sector in the Caribbean: A global perspective By Williams, Robert Crane
  2. Information and communication technologies for disaster risk management in the Caribbean By Williams, Robert Crane; Phillips, Atiba
  3. Diffusion of Multiple Information: On Information Resilience and the Power of Segregation By Nicole Tabasso

  1. By: Williams, Robert Crane (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) United Nations)
    Abstract: This occasional paper examines the experiences of three leading global centres of the ICT industry – India, Silicon Valley, and Estonia – to reflect on how the lessons of these models can be applied to the context of countries in the Caribbean region.Several sectors of the technology industry are considered in relation to the suitability for their establishment in the Caribbean. Animation is an area that is showing encouraging signs of development in several countries, and which offers some promise to provide a significant source of employment in the region. However, the global market for animation production is likely to become increasingly competitive, as improved technology has reduced barriers to entry into the industry not only in the Caribbean, but around the world. The region’s animation industry will need to move swiftly up the value chain if it is to avoid the downsides of being caught in an increasingly commoditized market. Mobile applications development has also been widely a heralded industry for the Caribbean. However, the market for consumer-oriented smartphone applications has matured very quickly, and is now a very difficult sector in which to compete. Caribbean mobile developers would be better served to focus on creating applications to suit the needs of regional industries and governments, rather than attempting to gain notice in over-saturated consumer marketplaces such as the iTunes App Store and Google Play. Another sector considered for the Caribbean is “big data” analysis. This area holds significant potential for growth in coming years, but the Caribbean, which is generally considered to be a datapoor region, currently lacks a sufficient base of local customers to form a competitive foundation for such an industry. While a Caribbean big data industry could plausibly be oriented toward outsourcing, that orientation would limit positive externalities from the sector, and benefits from its establishment would largely accrue only to a relatively small number of direct participants in the industry. Instead, development in the big data sector should be twinned with the development of products to build a regional customer base for the industry. The region has pressing needs in areas such as disaster risk reduction, water resource management, and support for agricultural production. Development of big data solutions – and other technology products – to address areas such as these could help to establish niche industries that both support the needs of local populations, and provide viable opportunities for the export of higher-value products and services to regions of the world with similar needs.
    Date: 2014–12
  2. By: Williams, Robert Crane; Phillips, Atiba (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL) United Nations)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for disaster risk management (DRM) with a specific focus on the Caribbean. The study included the review of literature and case studies, as well the administration of a survey instrument that collected the feedback of 13 regional national DRM agencies. Analysis of the survey suggests that while subregional disaster management agencies have fairly good access to technology infrastructure and enjoy an information sharing culture, challenges exist with regard to the information governance frameworks as well as the capacity and availability of human capital with regard to ICT. The study findings indicate that the regional DRM sector would do well to:  Deepen connections with policy makers and other communities of practice  Modernize ICT Infrastructure for DRM  Consider a subregional e-strategy for DRM  Improve ICT governance  Urgently develop programmes of ICT human capacity development.
    Date: 2014–02
  3. By: Nicole Tabasso (University of Surrey, United Kingdom)
    Abstract: We introduce two pieces of information, denoted memes, into a diffusion process in which memes are transmitted when individuals meet and forgotten at an exogenous rate. At most one meme can be transmitted at a meeting, which introduces opportunity costs in the process. Individuals differ according to which meme they find more interesting, and that is the one they transmit if they face a choice. We find that both memes survive under the same parameter values, and that relative interest is the main determinant in the number of people informed of a meme in the long run. We apply our framework to analyze the impact of segregation and find that segregation leads to polarization. Segregation also reduces the overall number of people informed in the long run. Our final set of results shows that agents are more likely to prefer segregation if their information preferences are more extreme, if they have few social contacts, or if they prefer a meme that is preferred by only a small fraction of the population
    Keywords: Social Networks, Information Transmission, Multiple States, Segregation
    JEL: D83 D85
    Date: 2015–06

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