nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2017‒11‒12
four papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Internet Adoption and Use in Cameroon By Novice P. Bakehe; Ariel H. Fambeu; George B. Tamokwe Piaptie
  2. Opinion Dynamics via Search Engines (and other Algorithmic Gatekeepers) By Fabrizio Germano; Francesco Sobbrio
  3. Developing Asia in the Era of Cross-border E-commerce By Lurong Chen
  4. Text Mining-based Economic Activity Estimates By Ksenia Yakovleva

  1. By: Novice P. Bakehe; Ariel H. Fambeu; George B. Tamokwe Piaptie
    Abstract: The aim of this study was to analyse the changes in the determinants of Internet adoption and use in Cameroon. The study used two individual surveys carried out in 2008 and 2015. Using discrete choice models and a comparative analysis, the study was able to highlight three major results. Firstly, following the emergence of equipment that was more compatible with third-generation (3G) mobile technology (smartphones and tablets), possessing a “traditional” mobile telephone, which could enable Internet adoption in 2008, was no longer relevant in 2015. Other factors, such as being unemployed or possessing a laptop, which were not significant in 2008, had an impact on Internet use in 2015. Secondly, most of the socio-economic and social network factors which influenced Internet adoption and use in 2008 were still relevant in 2015. The key factors were the respondent’s education level, his/her age, and the number of Internet users in his/her social environment. Finally, the study found that the coefficients associated with the marginal effects of most of these invariant factors increased over time both in the Internet adoption and Internet use models. This means that as the Internet penetration rate increased and the means used to have Internet access became more diverse, the first-level and second-level digital divides tended to worsen. These results are likely to help the government develop and implement more effective digital policies aimed at promoting mass Internet use in Cameroon. One will think first and foremost of policies aimed at training and informing the people who do not have Internet access. However, it could also be policies that target those who already use the Internet but are “isolated”, and who do not have access to information and expert advice in their vicinity, and, who, as a consequence, use the Internet in a sub-optimal way and are likely to be disappointed. Key words:Internet adoption, Internet use, ICT, digital divide
    Date: 2017–04
  2. By: Fabrizio Germano; Francesco Sobbrio
    Abstract: Ranking algorithms are the information gatekeepers of the Internet era. We develop a stylized framework to study the effects of ranking algorithms on opinion dynamics. We consider rankings that depend on popularity and on personalization. We find that popularity driven rankings can enhance asymptotic learning while personalized ones can both inhibit or enhance it, depending on whether individuals have common or private value preferences. We also find that ranking algorithms can contribute towards the diffusion of misinformation (e.g., “fake news†), since lower ex-ante accuracy of content of minority websites can actually increase their overall traffic share.
    Keywords: search engines, ranking algorithm, search behavior, opinion dynamics, information aggregation, asymptotic learning, misinformation, polarization, website traffic, fake news
    JEL: D83 L86
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Lurong Chen
    Abstract: Cross-border e-commerce has been a major development trend of international trade and globalization. In the next 5-10 years, the top three fastest-growing markets in the world-India, Indonesia, and Malaysia-will all come from Asia. Connectivity is the cornerstone of e-commerce development. E-commerce supporting connectivity aims to ease free information flow, logistics, free cash flow, and seamless links between the virtual and physical parts of e-commerce network. Accordingly, policy efforts include: increasing the supply of public goods to improve connectivity infrastructure in both physical world and cyberspace; establishing rules and regulations to ensure dynamics and competition of online marketplace; improving connectivity-derived services to generate more value added; prioritizing smartphone economy and Internet financial innovation, and collaboration in the region-wide E-commerce supporting environment.
    Keywords: digital economy, e-commerce, connectivity, developing Asia
    Date: 2017–11
  4. By: Ksenia Yakovleva (Bank of Russia, Russian Federation)
    Abstract: This paper outlines the methodology for calculating a high-frequency indicator of economic activity in Russia. News articles taken from Internet resources are used as data sources. The news articles are analysed using text mining and machine learning methods, which, although developed relatively recently, have quickly found wide application in scientific research, including economic studies. This is because news is not only a key source of information but a way to gauge the sentiment of journalists and survey respondents about the current situation and convert it into quantitative data.
    Keywords: economic activity estimates, text mining, machine learning.
    JEL: E37
    Date: 2017–10

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