nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2017‒02‒26
four papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Canadian Bank Notes and Dominion Notes: Lessons for Digital Currencies By Ben Fung; Scott Hendry; Warren E. Weber
  2. Explaining 'irrationalities' of IT-enabled change in a developing country bureaucracy: the case of Ghana's Tradenet By Atta A. Addo
  3. ICT Prices and ICT Services : What do they tell us about Productivity and Technology? By David M. Byrne; Carol Corrado
  4. ICT Asset Prices : Marshaling Evidence into New Measures By David M. Byrne; Carol Corrado

  1. By: Ben Fung; Scott Hendry; Warren E. Weber
    Abstract: This paper studies the period in Canada when both private bank notes and government-issued notes (Dominion notes) were simultaneously in circulation. Because both of these notes shared many of the characteristics of today's digital currencies, the experience with these notes can be used to draw lessons about how digital currencies might perform. The paper begins with a brief historical review of how these notes came into existence and of the regulations regarding their issuance. It examines historical evidence on how desirable bank notes were as media of exchange by examining how well they functioned with respect to ease of transacting, counterfeiting, safety, scarcity, and par exchange (a uniform currency). It then examines whether the introduction of government-issued notes improved how bank notes functioned as media of exchange. It finds that they did not. Improvements in the functioning of bank notes were due to changes in government regulation. Using the Canadian experience and that of the United States, the paper concludes that privately issued digital currencies will not be perfectly safe without government intervention, government-issued digital currency will not drive out existing private digital currencies, and government intervention will be required for privately issued and government-issued digital currencies to be a uniform currency.
    Keywords: Bank notes, E-Money, Financial services
    JEL: E41 E42 E58
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Atta A. Addo
    Abstract: Through a case study of Ghana’s TradeNet, a business-to-government (B2G) Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) implemented to automate and integrate customs clearance, this article investigates ‘irrationalities’ of IT-enabled change in the context of a developing country bureaucracy. Our data revealed that despite TradeNet’s potential for full automation and integration, bureaucrats sometimes preferred manual, face-to-face, paper-based practices. We explain such outcome—often depicted in the literature as a kind of ‘irrationality’—by drawing upon the theoretical notion of institutional logics to trace underlying logics of TradeNet-enabled change. We investigate two specific TradeNet-enabled practices—Import Declaration Form (IDF) processing and risk controls—and show that where ‘irrationality’ was present (IDF processing), the managerial logic of TradeNet contradicted existing bureaucratic logics. We therefore interpret ‘irrationality’ as ‘good enough’ or satisficing when new logics of IT and old bureaucratic logics contradicted. Our findings move beyond success or failure interpretations typical in Information Systems in developing countries (ISDC) and ICT for development (ICT4D) research. We also enhance knowledge of IT-enabled change in developing country bureaucracies by moving beyond the organizational milieu to emphasize broader institutional forces in developing countries such as neopatrimonialism. Such theorization advances ISDC/ICT4D research where reconciling micro with macro accounts remains daunting.
    Keywords: institutional logic; neopatrimonialism; rent seeking; managerialism; bureaucratic reform; IS in developing countries; trade facilitation; TradeNet; ICT4D
    JEL: N0 L81
    Date: 2016
  3. By: David M. Byrne; Carol Corrado
    Abstract: This paper reassesses the link between ICT prices, technology, and productivity. To understand how the ICT sector could come to the rescue of a whole economy, we introduce a simple model that sets out the steady-state contribution of the sector to the growth in U.S. labor productivity. The model extends Oulton (2012) to include ICT services (e.g., cloud computing) which has implications for the relationship between prices for ICT services and prices for the capital stocks (i.e., ICT assets) used to supply them. ICT asset prices are then put under a microscope, and official prices are found to substantially understate ICT price declines. And because ICT use continues to diffuse through the economy increasingly via cloud and related services which are not fully accounted for in the standard narrative on ICT's contribution to economic growth the contribution of ICT to growth in output per hour going forward is calibrated to be substantially larger than thought in the past.
    Keywords: Cloud services ; Computer software and internet services ; High-performance computing ; Information and communications technology (ICT) ; Prices ; Productivity ; Technology ; Price measurement
    JEL: E01 E31 L63
    Date: 2017–02–10
  4. By: David M. Byrne; Carol Corrado
    Abstract: This paper is a companion to our recent paper, "ICT Prices and ICT Services: What do they tell us about Productivity and Technology?" It provides the sources and methods used to construct national accounts-style price deflators for the major components of ICT investment--communications equipment, computer equipment, and software--that were presented and analyzed in that paper. The ICT equipment measures described herein were also used in Byrne, Fernald, and Reinsdorf (2016).
    Keywords: ICT asset prices ; Information and communication technology (ICT) ; Prices ; Price measurement
    JEL: E01 L63 E31
    Date: 2017–01–15

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