nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2016‒03‒10
four papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Predicting Road Conditions with Internet Search By Nikos Askitas
  2. Information and Communication Technologies, Prenatal Care Services and Neonatal Health By Diether W. Beuermann; Rafael Anta; Patricia Garcia; Alessandro Maffioli; Jose Perez Lu; Maria Fernanda Rodrigo
  3. What makes consumers switch mobile phone tariffs? By Christos Genakos; Costas Roumanias; Tommaso Valletti
  4. New games, new rules: big data and the changing context of strategy By Ioanna D Constantiou; Jannis Kallinikos

  1. By: Nikos Askitas
    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 cellphones. 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) peaks2 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: 2016
  2. By: Diether W. Beuermann (Inter-American Development Bank); Rafael Anta (Inter-American Development Bank); Patricia Garcia (Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia); Alessandro Maffioli (Inter-American Development Bank); Jose Perez Lu (Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia); Maria Fernanda Rodrigo (Inter-American Development Bank)
    Abstract: We evaluate the effectiveness of sending text messages to pregnant women containing appointment reminders and suggestions for healthy behaviors during pregnancy. Receiving messages had an overall positive effect of 5 percent on the number of prenatal care visits attended. Moreover, for women who live close to their assigned health center and who have higher educational attainment, the intervention positively affected vitamin intake compliance, APGAR scores, and birth weight. Evidence suggests that reminders are more effective among those who are more able to understand the future benefits of preventive care (more educated) and who face lower transaction costs of going to prenatal care checkups (located near health centers). No evidence of geographical spillover effects was found.
    Keywords: WAWARED, Peru, e-Health, Pregnancy, Experimental Design
    JEL: I10 O12
    Date: 2016–02
  3. By: Christos Genakos; Costas Roumanias; Tommaso Valletti
    Abstract: The potential psychological pain of nasty surprises on mobile phone bills is a great motivator to switch tariffs, according to research by Christos Genakos and colleagues. Their study notes that navigating through thousands of tariff plans for mobile phones to find the best one is not easy in today's telecoms market - and having an 'expert friend' calculate the contract with the biggest savings definitely helps. But the findings suggest that regulators cannot rely on price comparison sites to discipline the market since savings are not necessarily the first thing even well informed consumers are looking for. Rather, it is their desire to avoid psychological losses.
    Keywords: loss aversion, consumer switching, tariff plans, risk aversion, mobile telephony
    JEL: D03 D12 D81 L96
    Date: 2016–02
  4. By: Ioanna D Constantiou; Jannis Kallinikos
    Abstract: Big data and the mechanisms by which it is produced and disseminated introduce important changes in the ways information is generated and made relevant for organizations. Big data often represents miscellaneous records of the whereabouts of large and shifting online crowds. It is frequently agnostic, in the sense of being produced for generic purposes or purposes different from those sought by big data crunching. It is based on varying formats and modes of communication (e.g., texts, image and sound), raising severe problems of semiotic translation and meaning compatibility. Crucially, the usefulness of big data rests on their steady updatability, a condition that reduces the time span within which this data is useful or relevant. Jointly, these attributes challenge established rules of strategy making as these are manifested in the canons of procuring structured information of lasting value that addresses specific and long-term organizational objectives. The developments underlying big data thus seem to carry important implications for strategy making, and the data and information practices with which strategy has been associated. We conclude by placing the understanding of these changes within the wider social and institutional context of longstanding data practices and the significance they carry for management and organizations.
    Keywords: big data; business environment; data practices; management; social data; strategy making
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2015

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