nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2016‒12‒18
three papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Books or Laptops? The Cost-Effectiveness of Shifting from Printed to Digital Delivery of Educational Content By Rosangela Bando; Francisco Gallego; Paul Gertler; Dario Romero
  2. Picking up speed: Does ultrafast broadband increase firm productivity? By Richard Fabling; Arthur Grimes
  3. Technological Advancement and the Evolving Gender Identities: A Focus on the Level of Female Economic Participation in Sub-Saharan Africa By Uchenna Efobi; Belmondo Tanankem; Simplice Asongu

  1. By: Rosangela Bando; Francisco Gallego; Paul Gertler; Dario Romero
    Abstract: Information and communication technologies, such as laptops, can be used for educational purposes as they provide users with computational tools, information storage and communication opportunities, but these devices may also pose as distractors that may tamper with the learning process. This paper presents results from a randomized controlled trial in which laptops replaced traditional textbook provision in elementary schools in high poverty communities in Honduras in 2013 through the program Educatracho. We show that at the end of one school year, the substitution of laptops for textbooks did not make a significant difference in student learning. We additionally conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis, which demonstrated that given the low marginal costs of digital textbook provision, the substitution of three additional textbooks in the program (for a total of five) would guarantee computers to be more cost-effective than textbooks. Therefore, textbook substitution by laptops may be a cost-effective manner to provide classroom learning content.
    JEL: I21 I28 J24 O15
    Date: 2016–12
  2. By: Richard Fabling (Independent Researcher); Arthur Grimes (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: We estimate whether there are productivity gains from ultrafast broadband (UFB) adoption and whether any gains are higher when firms undertake complementary organisational investments. Using an IV strategy based on proximity to schools (that were targeted in the UFB roll-out), we find that the average effect of UFB adoption on employment and (labour and multifactor) productivity is insignificantly different from zero, even for firms in industries where we might expect the returns to UFB to be relatively high. Conversely, we find that firms making concurrent investments in organisational capital specifically for the purpose of getting more from their ICTs appear to experience higher productivity growth, at least in first-difference specifications. Firms making these joint (UFB-organisational) investment decisions are significantly more likely to report other positive outcomes from their ICT investments, consistent with the identified relationship with productivity being causal.
    Keywords: Ultrafast broadband adoption, fibre-to-the-door, productivity, organisational change, complementary investments
    JEL: D22 L23 O33
    Date: 2016–12
  3. By: Uchenna Efobi (Covenant University, Nigeria); Belmondo Tanankem (Ministry of Economy, Cameroon); Simplice Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: This study investigates how technological advancement improves gender identity by means of female economic participation in a panel 48 African countries for the period 1990-2014. Two indicators are used to measure female economic participation, namely, the: female labour force participation and employment rates. Technological advancement is measured with three main indicators, notably: internet penetration, mobile phone penetration and fixed broad band subscriptions. The empirical evidence is based on Ordinary Least Squares, Fixed Effects and System Generalized Method of Moments regressions. The findings show that improvement in technology increases female economic participation with the following consistent order of increasing magnitude: mobile phone penetration; internet penetration and fixed broad band subscriptions. The findings are robust to the control for: countries’ levels in economic development; the use of contemporary technology advancement indicators; internal conflicts and political stability; the level of social globalization and the use of alternative instruments. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Technology; Inclusive development; Africa
    JEL: G20 I10 I32 O40 O55
    Date: 2016–04

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