nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2018‒05‒21
six papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Honesty in the Digital Age By Alain Cohn; Tobias Gesche; Michel André Maréchal
  2. Communications Technology and Terrorism By Rafat Mahmood; Michael Jetter
  3. On the Rise of FinTechs – Credit Scoring using Digital Footprints By Tobias Berg; Valentin Burg; Ana Gombović; Manju Puri
  4. Finding Needles in Haystacks: Artificial Intelligence and Recombinant Growth By Ajay Agrawal; John McHale; Alex Oettl
  5. Technology and Skill: Twin Engines of Growth By Nancy L. Stokey
  6. The governance of blockchain financial networks By Paech, Philipp

  1. By: Alain Cohn; Tobias Gesche; Michel André Maréchal
    Abstract: Modern communication technologies enable efficient exchange of information, but often sacrifice direct human interaction inherent in more traditional forms of communication. This raises the question of whether the lack of personal interaction induces individuals to exploit informational asymmetries. We conducted two experiments with 866 subjects to examine how human versus machine interaction influences cheating for financial gain. We find that individuals cheat significantly more when they interact with a machine rather than a person, regardless of whether the machine is equipped with human features. When interacting with a human, individuals are particularly reluctant to report unlikely favorable outcomes, which is consistent with social image concerns. The second experiment shows that dishonest individuals prefer to interact with a machine when facing an opportunity to cheat. Our results suggest that human interaction is key to mitigating dishonest behavior and that self-selection into communication channels can be used to screen for dishonest people.
    Keywords: cheating, honesty, private information, communication, digitization, lying costs
    JEL: C99 D82 D83
    Date: 2018
  2. By: Rafat Mahmood; Michael Jetter
    Abstract: By facilitating the flow of information in society, communications technology (CT; e.g., newspapers, radio, television, the internet) can help terrorists to (i) spread their message, (ii) recruit followers, and (iii) coordinate among group members. However, CT also facilitates monitoring and arresting terrorists. This paper formulates the hypothesis that a society’s level of CT is systematically related to terrorism. We introduce a simple theoretical framework, suggesting that terrorism first becomes more attractive with a rise in CT, but then decreases, following an inverted U-shape. Accessing data for 199 countries from 1970-2014, we find evidence for these predictions: Terrorism peaks at intermediate ranges of CT and corresponding magnitudes are sizeable. Our estimations control for a range of potentially confounding factors, as well as country- and year-fixed effects. Results are consistent throughout a battery of robustness checks and placebo regressions. Finally, we find no evidence of a potential reporting bias explaining our findings.
    Keywords: communications technology, GTD, information flows, terrorism, panel data
    JEL: D74 D83 L82 L86 L96 P16
    Date: 2018
  3. By: Tobias Berg; Valentin Burg; Ana Gombović; Manju Puri
    Abstract: We analyze the information content of the digital footprint – information that people leave online simply by accessing or registering on a website – for predicting consumer default. Using more than 250,000 observations, we show that even simple, easily accessible variables from the digital footprint equal or exceed the information content of credit bureau (FICO) scores. Furthermore, the discriminatory power for unscorable customers is very similar to that of scorable customers. Our results have potentially wide implications for financial intermediaries’ business models, for access to credit for the unbanked, and for the behavior of consumers, firms, and regulators in the digital sphere.
    JEL: D12 G20 O33
    Date: 2018–04
  4. By: Ajay Agrawal; John McHale; Alex Oettl
    Abstract: Innovation is often predicated on discovering useful new combinations of existing knowledge in highly complex knowledge spaces. These needle-in-a-haystack type problems are pervasive in fields like genomics, drug discovery, materials science, and particle physics. We develop a combinatorial-based knowledge production function and embed it in the classic Jones growth model (1995) to explore how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) that dramatically improve prediction accuracy about which combinations have the highest potential could enhance discovery rates and consequently economic growth. This production function is a generalization (and reinterpretation) of the Romer/Jones knowledge production function. Separate parameters control the extent of individual-researcher knowledge access, the effects of fishing out/complexity, and the ease of forming research teams.
    JEL: O3 O33 O4
    Date: 2018–04
  5. By: Nancy L. Stokey
    Abstract: A model is developed in which two complementary forms of investment contribute to growth—technology and skill acquisition, and growth takes two forms—TFP and variety growth. The rate of TFP growth depends more heavily on the parameters governing skill accumulation, while variety growth depends, roughly, on the difference between the parameters governing technology and skill accumulation. Conditions for the existence of a BGP are established, and the effects of various parameters are characterized. In an example, subsidies to skill acquisition (technology acquisition) are powerful tools for stimulating TFP growth (variety growth). Investment incentives off the BGP are also explored.
    JEL: O30 O33 O34 O40
    Date: 2018–05
  6. By: Paech, Philipp
    Abstract: Since the emergence of the virtual currency Bitcoin in 2009, a new, Internet-based way of recording entitlements and enforcing rights has increasingly captured the interest of businesses and governments. The technology is commonly called ‘blockchain’ and is often associated with a closely related phenomenon, the ‘smart contract’. The market is now exploring ways of using these concepts for financial assets, such as securities, legal tender and derivative contracts. This article develops a conceptual framework for the governance of blockchain-based networks in financial markets. It constructs a vision of how financial regulation and private law should set the boundaries of this new technology in order to protect market participants and societies at large, while at the same time allowing for the necessary room for innovation.
    Keywords: blockchain technology; fintech; financial assets; financial regulation; private law; private international law
    JEL: K11 K12 K22 K33
    Date: 2016–11–30

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