nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2016‒06‒14
six papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa By Marco Manacorda; Andrea Tesei
  2. The Mobile Phone in the Diffusion of Knowledge for Institutional Quality in Sub-Saharan Africa By Simplice Asongu; Jacinta C. Nwachukwu
  3. An Economic Policy Perspective on Online Platforms By Bertin Martens
  4. Geo-blocking in Cross-border e-Commerce in the EU Digital Single Market By Melisande Cardona
  5. Skills for a Digital World: 2016 Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy Background Report By OECD
  6. Impactos Heterogéneos del Acceso a Internet sobre el Bienestar: Evidencia a partir de Microdatos en el Perú By Paulo Chahuara; Jorge Trelles

  1. By: Marco Manacorda (Queen Mary University of London, CEP (LSE), CEPR & IZA); Andrea Tesei (Queen Mary University of London and CEP (LSE))
    Abstract: Can digital information and communication technology (ICT) foster mass political mobilization? We use a novel geo-referenced dataset for the entire African continent between 1998 and 2012 on the coverage of mobile phone signal together with geo-referenced data from multiple sources on the occurrence of protests and on individual participation in protests to bring this argument to empirical scrutiny. We find that mobile phones are instrumental to mass mobilization during economic downturns, when reasons for grievance emerge and the cost of participation falls. Estimated effects are if anything larger once we use an instrumental variable approach that relies on differential trends in coverage across areas with different incidence of lightning strikes. The results are in line with insights from a network model with imperfect information and strategic complementarities in protest provision. Mobile phones make individuals more responsive to both changes in economic conditions - a mechanism that we ascribe to enhanced information - and to their neighbors’ participation - a mechanism that we ascribe to enhanced coordination. Empirically both effects are at play, highlighting the channels through which digital ICT can alleviate the collective action problem.
    Keywords: mobile phones, collective action, Africa, geo-referenced data
    JEL: D70 O55 L96
    Date: 2016–04
  2. By: Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroun); Jacinta C. Nwachukwu (Coventry University)
    Abstract: This study assesses the mobile phone in the diffusion of knowledge for better governance in sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2000-2012. For this purpose we employ Generalised Method of Moments with forward orthogonal deviations. The empirical evidence is based on three complementary knowledge diffusion variables (innovation, internet penetration and educational quality) and ten governance indicators that are bundled and unbundled. The following are the main findings. First, there is an unconditional positive effect of mobile phone penetration on good governance. Second, the net effects on political, economic and institutional governances that are associated with the interaction of the mobile phone with knowledge diffusion variables are positive for the most part. Third, countries with low levels of governance are catching-up their counterparts with higher levels of governance. The above findings are broadly consistent with theoretical underpinnings on the relevance of mobile phones in mitigating bad governance in Africa. The evidence of some insignificant net effects and decreasing marginal impacts may be an indication that the mobile phone could also be employed to decrease government quality. Overall, this study has established net positive effects for the most part. Five rationales could elicit the positive net effects on good governance from the interaction between mobile phones and knowledge diffusion, among others, the knowledge variables enhance: reach, access, adoption, cost-effectiveness and interaction. In a nut shell, the positive net effects are apparent because the knowledge diffusion variables complement mobile phones in reducing information asymmetry and monopoly that create conducive conditions for bad governance. The contribution of the findings to existing theories and justifications of the underlying positive net effects are discussed.
    Keywords: Mobile phones; Governance; Africa
    JEL: G20 O38 O40 O55 P37
  3. By: Bertin Martens (European Commission – JRC - IPTS)
    Abstract: This report provides an overview of the relevant economic research literature on platforms or multi-sided online markets. It discusses platforms from a regulatory policy angle, including potential market failures in platforms, the extent of self-regulation and possible regulatory responses through existing competition policy, consumer protection and data protection instruments. It covers selected policy issues associated with these platforms including possible sources of bias in search engines and search rankings, data protection and the use of personal data in platforms, and platform liabilities within and beyond the e-commerce directive.
    Keywords: multi-sided markets, digital online platforms, market failure, regulation, e-commerce directive, search engines, data protection, intermediary liabilities
    JEL: F15
    Date: 2016–05
  4. By: Melisande Cardona (European Commission - JRC - IPTS)
    Abstract: A cross-border e-commerce Mystery Shopping Survey conducted in 2015, finds that the practice of erecting virtual barriers is still common in cross-border e-commerce within the EU, as it was in 2009. Electrical appliances, electronics and computer games are particularly difficult to buy online from another country. Geo-blocking often takes place at the delivery stage of the online purchase process and less often at the access stage. Larger websites can also block access according to a buyer’s IP address. Geo-blocking is less probably between countries sharing a common language while a common border or geographical proximity has no effect. Travel services have a different pattern of geo-blocking from tangible goods, where geo-blocking mainly takes place at the access stage. Price analysis shows that differentiation takes place in all sectors, but is more common in the sectors less affected by geo-blocking.
    Keywords: geo-blocking, mystery shopping, cross-border e-commerce, digital single market
    JEL: D12
    Date: 2016–05
  5. By: OECD
    Abstract: This report provides new evidence on the effects of digital technologies on the demand for skills and discusses key policies for skills development adapted to the digital economy. Workers across an increasing range of occupations need generic and/or advanced ICT skills to use such technologies effectively. More fundamentally, the diffusion of digital technologies is changing how work is done, raising demand for complementary skills such as information processing, self-direction, problem solving and communication. This report discusses measures that can help to ensure that the diffusion of digital technologies is accompanied by the development of the skills needed for their effective use, an increase in the responsiveness of national skills development systems to changes in skills demand and of new learning opportunities created by digital technologies.
    Date: 2016–06–02
  6. By: Paulo Chahuara (OSIPTEL, Gerencia de Políticas Regulatorias y Competencia); Jorge Trelles (OSIPTEL, Gerencia de Políticas Regulatorias y Competencia)
    Abstract: El presente documento realiza una evaluación del impacto que generaría el acceso al servicio de Internet sobre el bienestar de los hogares peruanos. Así, utilizando como indicador de bienestar el logaritmo natural del gasto promedio mensual per cápita familiar y aplicando la metodología de efectos del tratamiento por cuantiles o QTEs (Quantile Treatment Effects) sobre una muestra representativa de la Encuesta Residencial de Servicios de Telecomunicaciones (ERESTEL) 2013 a cargo de OSIPTEL, se encuentra evidencia de que la tenencia del servicio de Internet en el hogar tiene un efecto positivo sobre el bienestar que se mantiene a lo largo de la distribución de la variable de resultado. No obstante, los beneficios del acceso a Internet serían heterogéneos ya que los hogares ubicados en los cuantiles inferiores de la distribución del gasto familiar tienden a tener un beneficio marginal más alto con el acceso a Internet que los hogares ubicados en cuantiles superiores. Ello implicaría que las políticas que mejoren los indicadores de acceso a internet tienen un importante componente “articulador/igualador” en la distribución de la riqueza de la sociedad. Estas conclusiones se mantienen incluso al emplear otra fuente de información, la Encuesta Nacional de Hogares (ENAHO) realizada por el Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI).
    Keywords: Acceso a Internet, cobertura, evaluación de impacto, efectos del tratamiento por cuantiles
    JEL: C14 C21 C51 C52 L86
    Date: 2014–07

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