nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2018‒09‒03
six papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Remittances, ICT and Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa By Asongu, Simplice; Biekpe, Nicholas; Tchamyou, Vanessa
  2. Le tecnologie di Industria 4.0 e le PMI/Technologies of Industry 4.0 and SMEs By Angelo Bonomi
  3. Introduction to Special Issue: Mobile technologies and inclusive development in Africa By Asongu, Simplice; Boateng, Agyenim
  4. Tokenomics: Dynamic Adoption and Valuation By Cong, Lin William; Li, Ye; Wang, Neng
  5. Web mining of firm websites: A framework for web scraping and a pilot study for Germany By Kinne, Jan; Axenbeck, Janna
  6. Price Discrimination in Online Retail By Hindermann, Christoph Michael

  1. By: Asongu, Simplice; Biekpe, Nicholas; Tchamyou, Vanessa
    Abstract: Purpose – This study examines how linkages between information and communication technology (ICT) and remittances affect the doing of business. Design/methodology/approach – The focus is on a panel of 49 sub-Saharan African countries for the period 2000-2012. The empirical evidence is based on Generalised Method of Moments. Findings – While we establish some appealing results in terms of net negative effects on constraints to the doing of business (i.e. time to start a business and time to pay taxes), some positive net effects are also apparent (i.e. number of start-up procedures, time to build a warehouse and time to register a property). We also establish ICT penetration thresholds at which the unconditional effect of remittances can be changed from positive to negative, notably: (i) for the number of start-up procedures, an internet level of 9.00 penetration per 100 people is required while (ii) for the time to build a warehouse, a mobile phone penetration level of 32.33 penetration per 100 people is essential. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed. Originality/value – To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to assess linkages between ICT, remittances and doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: Remittances; ICT; Doing business; Development; Africa
    JEL: F24 L96 O30 O55
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Angelo Bonomi (CNR-IRCRES, National Research Council, Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth, via Real Collegio 30, Moncalieri (TO) – Italy)
    Abstract: This paper concerns a study on the next production revolution called Industry 4.0 based on confluence of various technologies, mainly digital, with far reaching consequences especially for productivity and employment. This study considers the implementation of Industry 4.0 in SMEs and industrial districts that represent a great part of Italian industry. The latter represents certainly a major challenge to such implementation because of the existence of various obstacles constituted by availability of investment capitals, small scale productions and tendency to develop and to adopt only incremental innovations rather than radical ones typical of Industry 4.0. In this work we study the technologies involved in Industry 4.0, taking account of existence of specific technologies, called enabling technologies, whose confluence in the manufacturing industry determines the implementation of Industry 4.0. Such enabling technologies originate from the major fields of R&D activities such as nanotechnologies, biotechnologies, digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). In this paper we study the dynamic and possible evolution characterizing the formation of the various enabling technologies in a sort of ramification process, using specific models of technology, technology innovation and R&D, and their relation with manufacturing in SMEs and industrial districts. The results of the study underlines the importance of AI in determining possibilities and limits to Industry 4.0, the necessity to disrupt the tendency of SMEs in adopting only incremental innovations, the existence of “intranality effects” raising difficulties from the supply chain, and the importance of technology consulting firms in the integration of ICT in operating technologies of a manufacturing activity.
    Keywords: Industry 4.0, SMEs, industrial districts, technology innovation
    JEL: O14 O25 O33
    Date: 2018–06
  3. By: Asongu, Simplice; Boateng, Agyenim
    Abstract: The primary objective of this special issue is to showcase high-quality interdisciplinary research in the field of mobile phone technology and inclusive economic development, with a view to inspire and educate readers and policy makers on the vital role of mobile phones in economic development in Africa. We hope that the articles in this special issue will encourage academics and policy makers to carry out more research on the challenges and opportunities mobile phone technology offers in our quest to develop our communities.
    Keywords: Mobile phones; inclusive human development; Africa
    JEL: G20 I10 I32 O40 O55
    Date: 2018–05
  4. By: Cong, Lin William (U of Chicago); Li, Ye (Oh State U); Wang, Neng (Columbia U and China Academy of Financial Research)
    Abstract: We provide a dynamic asset-pricing model of (crypto-)tokens on (blockchain-based) platforms, and highlight their roles on endogenous user adoption. Tokens intermediate transactions on decentralized networks, and their trading creates an inter-temporal complementarity among users, generating a feedback loop between token valuation and platform adoption. Consequently, tokens capitalize future platform growth, accelerate adoption, and reduce user-base volatility. Equilibrium token price increases non-linearly in platform productivity, user heterogeneity, and endogenous network size. The model also produces explosive growth of user base after an initial period of dormant adoption, accompanied by a run-up of token price volatility. We further discuss how our framework can be used to discuss cryptocurrency supply, token competition, and pricing assets under network externality.
    JEL: C73 E42 F43 L86
    Date: 2018–03
  5. By: Kinne, Jan; Axenbeck, Janna
    Abstract: Nowadays, almost all (relevant) firms have their own websites which they use to publish information about their products and services. Using the example of innovation in firms, we outline a framework for extracting information from firm websites using web scraping and data mining. For this purpose, we present an easy and free-to-use web scraping tool for large-scale data retrieval from firm websites. We apply this tool in a large-scale pilot study to provide information on the data source (i.e. the population of firm websites in Germany), which has as yet not been studied rigorously in terms of its qualitative and quantitative properties. We find, inter alia, that the use of websites and websites' characteristics (number of subpages and hyperlinks, text volume, language used) differs according to firm size, age, location, and sector. Web-based studies also have to contend with distinct outliers and the fact that low broadband availability appears to prevent firms from operating a website. Finally, we propose two approaches based on neural network language models and social network analysis to derive firm-level information from the extracted web data.
    Keywords: Web Mining,Web Scraping,R&D,R&I,STI,Innovation,Indicators,Text Mining
    JEL: O30 C81 C88
    Date: 2018
  6. By: Hindermann, Christoph Michael
    Abstract: Although newspapers and online blogs provide a variety of anecdotal evidence for price discrimination, they are mostly not based on a scientific and systematic approach. This survey gives a short overview of scientific price discrimination studies in online retail. At first, it contains a short methodological part which shows how price discrimination can be detected. Thereafter, the results of different price discrimination studies are presented, showing that the prevalence of price discrimination varies across studies. Studies who analyze only ‘popular’ websites find a higher rate of prevalence than studies focusing also on ‘unpopular’ websites. As far as scientific evidence is available, online prices hinge on user-based, technical, and location-based features. The dispersion of the price seems to be largest when firms discriminate between users from different countries. Finally, potential reasons why price discrimination is not applied by all retailers are given.
    Keywords: Price Discrimination,Online Retail,Price Differentiation,Pricing
    JEL: D40 M20
    Date: 2018

This nep-ict issue is ©2018 by Walter Frisch. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.