nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2018‒10‒15
thirteen papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
Universität Wien

  1. Digital Trade and Market Openness By Javier López González; Janos Ferencz
  2. "The future of valuation An integrated academic and practical view on the impact of digitalisation on real estate valuation" By Florian Hackelberg; Matthias Kirsten
  3. Failing to engage? Big data, smart cities and the built environment sector: an analysis of international case studies By Tim Dixon; Martin Sexton; Jorn Van De Wetering
  4. Assessing e-commerce productivity for French micro firms using propensity score matching By Ouaida, Fadila; El Hajjar, Samer
  5. CoWorking Space v. The Traditional Office Space: Challenges and Opportunities in Sydney By Hera Antoniades; Dulani Halvitigala; Chris Eves
  6. Lack of Study Time is the Problem, but What is the Solution? Unsuccessful Attempts to Help Traditional and Online College Students By Philip Oreopoulos; Richard W. Patterson; Uros Petronijevic; Nolan G. Pope
  7. What Drives Bitcoin Volatility? By Byström, Hans; Krygier, Dominika
  8. Walking and Talking: The Effect of Smartphone Use and Group Conversation on Pedestrian Speed. By Lexie Reynolds Walsh; Tingsen Xian; David Levinson
  9. Scanner Data, Elementary Price Indexes and the Chain Drift Problem By Diewert, Erwin; Marandola, Tina
  10. Racing With or Against the Machine? Evidence from Europe By Terry Gregory; Anna Salomons; Ulrich Zierahn
  11. Competing with Superstars in the Mobile App Market By Daniel Ershov
  12. The Impact of Software Development Business Processes on Office Space Demand and Design By Eliza Starr; Chris Starr; Elaine Worzala
  13. The role of Social Networks on Household Business Performance in Vietnam: A qualitative assessment By Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong; Laure Pasquier-Doumer

  1. By: Javier López González; Janos Ferencz
    Abstract: This paper aims to provide policy makers with a broad overview of the issues that the digital transformation raises for trade with a view to informing how these might be reflected in trade policy design. It discusses how digitalisation has changed international trade and provides estimates of the impact of increased digital connectivity on trade. It shows that digitalisation is particularly important for trade in more complex manufactures and digitally deliverable services; that it helps parties better exploit benefits from trade agreements; and that it gives rise to new complementarities between goods and services. The paper also discusses some trade-related regulatory challenges. Engaging in digital trade in goods means paying attention to a broader range of supporting services, such as logistics or e-payments. Similarly, the ability to engage in trade in services, particularly those that are digitally delivered, is also, in part, affected by market access in ICT goods. The paper argues that making the most out of the digital transformation for trade requires approaching market openness more holistically, thinking about measures affecting goods, services and digital connectivity more jointly, and about measures affecting the full value chain, including the enablers of digital trade and tackling all these through greater international cooperation.
    Keywords: digital connectivity, digital trade, Digital transformation, e-commerce, gravity, market openness
    JEL: F13 F14 O33
    Date: 2018–10–08
  2. By: Florian Hackelberg; Matthias Kirsten
    Abstract: BackgroundIn recent years, digitalisation has been introduced in the real estate industry and enjoys a growing popularity in the field of real estate valuation in Germany. This trend has already changed the valuation practices of both large real estate service companies and small valuation companies. In addition, new players enter the real estate market with numerous valuation start-ups and online real estate platforms. Given the massive transition, that digitalisation has already brought to other industry sectors, it is clear that the shift in real estate valuation has only just begun. This leads to the question of what the ""future of the valuation"" could look like and what is already available on the market.Area of research and questions to be addressedWhen it comes to digitalisation and valuation, the following questions are currently raised among the key issues by real estate academics and practitioners alike and should be addressed during the meeting:In what way might digitalisation change the valuation process in the future? How will digitalisation affect the critical value determination of the human appraiser? Will digital processes, artificial intelligence and big data completely replace the experience and market knowledge of the appraisers? What does the field of work of the surveyor of the future look like, (eg one part technology one part science and one part human?) What are limitations of automated real estate valuation and which areas may remain as the “classical” valuationProf. Dr. Florian Hackelberg MRICS, Professor for Real Estate Valuation at the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Germany, will introduce the outlined topic from an academic perspective, while M.Sc. Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Matthias Kirsten MRICS, valuation expert of Value AG - the valuation group will share his view on the latest trends and developments in the market
    Keywords: Appraisal; Artificial Intelligence; Big data; Digitalisation; Valuation
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–01–01
  3. By: Tim Dixon; Martin Sexton; Jorn Van De Wetering
    Abstract: We live in an increasingly urbanised world. Currently more than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in cities, and this is set to grow to 70% by 2050. Recently we have seen an increasing focus on information and communications technology (ICT) to argue the case for ‘smart cities’. This places a strong emphasis on an ICT-led and a ‘data-driven’ future, which also positions the development of new products, processes, organisational methods and markets at the heart of the continued ambition for urban economic growth. The interconnected agendas of smart cities and big data and open data, on the face of it, provide bold and exciting opportunities for the built environment professions. But, what in reality will those opportunities be, and what are the challenges? This research, conducted from 2015-2016, seeks to address those questions and focuses on the city level.The research focuses on a technocratic approach to use of data in smart cities, and how we can make this accessible to built environment stakeholders. We explore the extent to which the built environment sector is engaging with the smart city at ‘programme’ scale (i.e. city-wide) and ‘project’ scale (i.e. urban data platform and other applications). To do this we compare four smart city programmes to pose three primary research questions:How have smart city programmes and projects evolved in these cities? What has shaped this evolution? What is the nature and extent of the built environment sector’s role in such programmes and projects?The research consisted of interviews in four case studies in Bristol, Milton Keynes, Amsterdam and Taipei and a UK expert workshop."
    Keywords: Big data; New Technology; Open Data; Smart City; Urban Studies
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–01–01
  4. By: Ouaida, Fadila; El Hajjar, Samer
    Abstract: The benefits of e-commerce are apparent not only for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large firms, but also for micro firms. Hence, implementing e-sales for micro firms is worth exploring. This study examines the relationship between the use of e-commerce and productivity implications on micro firms in France using Propensity Score Matching (PSM) for the year 2012. Data used in the analysis is based on community survey "ICT & e-commerce" for micro firms. The main objective of using PSM is to assess productivity between, on the one hand, e-selling micro firms and, on the other hand, the non e-selling micro firms. The empirical results show that e-selling micro firms are more productive and have a higher turnover in 2012.
    Keywords: ICT,E-commerce,micro firms,productivity,Propensity Score Matching
    JEL: L81 O30
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Hera Antoniades; Dulani Halvitigala; Chris Eves
    Abstract: CoWorking space is commonly a collaborative space in an office-like environment. The space can be in the form of very short office leases which range anywhere between a day to a week and longer; and the space can be used independently, collaboratively or in nominated teams. The intent of coworking spaces is numerous, which includes a sense of community environment, encouraging greater productivity, provide access for mobile and freelance workers and an affordable solution to start-ups who are on a restricted budget and unable to enter into long term rental commitments. Many landlords are being challenged by this growing demand for flexible, scalable, collaborative spaces with short term leases. A desktop analysis of eighteen (18) coworking locations in Sydney is undertaken. The findings identified three main opportunities for landlords to capture the coworking space – firstly, leasing space to coworking operators, secondly developing their own coworking platforms and thirdly partnering with coworking operators to develop coworking spaces; coupled with two main challenges associated with the implementation of coworking hubs – the reliance on coworking operators and their survival with changing market conditions, and secondly, transforming traditional office spaces into engaging coworking vibrant hubs.
    Keywords: challanges; collaborative spaces; Coworking spaces; office landlords; Opportunities
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–01–01
  6. By: Philip Oreopoulos; Richard W. Patterson; Uros Petronijevic; Nolan G. Pope
    Abstract: We evaluate two low-cost college support programs designed to directly target insufficient study time, a common characteristic among a large fraction of undergraduates. We conduct our experiment across three distinct college-types: (i) a selective urban college campus, (ii) a less-selective suburban college campus, and (iii) an online college, using a combination of unique survey and administrative data. More than 9,000 students were randomly assigned to complete an online planning exercise with information and guidance to create a weekly schedule containing sufficient study time and other obligations. Treated students also received weekly study tips, reminders, and coach consultations via text message throughout the academic year. Despite high levels of fidelity and initial participation, we estimate precise null effects on academic outcomes at each site, implying that the planning treatment was ineffective at improving student credit accumulation, course grades, and retention. We do find suggestive evidence, however, that the planning treatment marginally increased student study time. Taken together, the results suggest that, in addition to helping students stay organized, an effective intervention may need to provide stronger incentives or specific guidance on the tasks to complete while studying.
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2018–09
  7. By: Byström, Hans (Department of Economics, Lund University); Krygier, Dominika (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: We look at the link between the volatility in the Bitcoin market and the volatility in other related traditional markets, i.e. the gold, currency and stock market. We also try to answer if the volatility in the Bitcoin market can be explained by retail investor-driven internet search volumes or, perhaps, by the general level of risk in the financial system, as measured by two market-wide risk indicators. We use daily, weekly as well as monthly data covering the period 2011 to 2017. Correlations and regressions reveal a weak but positive contemporaneous link between changes in the Bitcoin volatility and changes in the volatility of the trade weighted USD currency index. A stronger positive link is found between Bitcoin volatility and search pressures on Bitcoin-related words on Google, particularly for the word “bitcoin”. To further assess what drives Bitcoin volatility we turn to a VAR-analysis and impulse response functions which point at Google searches for the word “bitcoin”, and to some extent the USD currency index volatility, being the only determinants of future Bitcoin volatility. We then use our findings to make improved predictions of Bitcoin volatility based on Google search activity. Interestingly, the significant link that we find between Google search volumes and market volatility points at retail investors, rather than large institutions, being the most important drivers of Bitcoin volatility. We believe that we contribute to the literature in several ways and that our results could be of significant practical importance if the Bitcoin market continues to grow at the current speed.
    Keywords: Bitcoin; volatility; internet searches; Google Trends; gold; VIX
    JEL: C80 D80 G10
    Date: 2018–10–03
  8. By: Lexie Reynolds Walsh; Tingsen Xian; David Levinson (TransportLab, School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney)
    Abstract: By testing the walking speed of groups of pedestrians and of phone users, followers of groups and of phone users, and of people uninfluenced by phone users and groups, from different sites it could been seen that groups of people and phone users, and often followers of phone users, walk significantly slower than people uninfluenced by phone. In a narrow path people in groups and phone users not only slow themselves down but also slow the people behind. The rise of the smartphone correlates with a reduction in walking speed.
    Keywords: walking speed, pedestrian behaviour, phone use, distracted walking, group behaviour
    JEL: R40 L96 D83
    Date: 2018
  9. By: Diewert, Erwin; Marandola, Tina
    Abstract: Statistical agencies increasingly are able to collect detailed price and quantity information from retailers on sales of consumer products. Thus elementary price indexes (which are indexes constructed at the first stage of aggregation for closely related products) can now be constructed using this price and quantity information, whereas previously, statistical agencies had to construct elementary indexes using just retail outlet collected information on prices alone. Thus superlative indexes can now be constructed at the elementary level, which in theory, should lead to more accurate Consumer Price Indexes. However, retailers frequently sell products at heavily discounted prices, which lead to large increases in purchases of these products. This volatility in prices and quantities will generally lead to a chain drift problem; i.e., when prices return to their “normal†levels, quantities purchased are frequently below their “normal†levels and this leads to a downward drift in a superlative price index. The paper addresses this problem and looks at the likely bias in various index number formulae that are commonly used. The bias estimates are illustrated using some scanner data on the sales of frozen juice products that are available online.
    Keywords: Jevons, Dutot, Carli, Unit Value, Laspeyres, Paasche
    JEL: C43 C81 E31
    Date: 2018–10–10
  10. By: Terry Gregory; Anna Salomons; Ulrich Zierahn
    Abstract: A fast-growing literature shows that digital technologies are displacing labor from routine tasks, raising concerns that labor is racing against the machine. We develop a task-based framework to estimate the aggregate labor demand and employment effects of routine-replacing technological change (RRTC), along with the underlying mechanisms. We show that while RRTC has indeed had strong displacement effects in the European Union between 1999 and 2010, it has simultaneously created new jobs through increased product demand, outweighing displacement effects and resulting in net employment growth. However, we also show that this finding depends on the distribution of gains from technological progress.
    Keywords: labor demand, employment, routine-replacing technological change, tasks, local demand spillovers
    JEL: E24 J23 J24 O33
    Date: 2018
  11. By: Daniel Ershov (Toulouse School of Economics, 21 Allee de Brienne, 31000 Toulouse, France)
    Abstract: Firms considering to enter into online markets face significant demand uncertainty and consumer search costs, with consumers most likely finding previously successful products in the market. This leads to a trade-off for potential entrants. Consider the appearance of a new very popular product (“superstar") in a particular niche. The popular product resolves demand uncertainty but also increases search costs for new entrants relative to the superstar. The interaction between these two forces could result in too much entry by low quality products, or not enough entry. I empirically examine these effects using 2012- 2013 data on mobile games in the Android mobile app store. I show that there are large increases in entry in niches where the superstar appears, unless they were already popular niches (“discovered"). I also show that the superstar reduces the quality of the new entrants and intensifies price competition.
    Keywords: mobile apps; entry; superstars; demand discovery; search
    JEL: L86 D22 L11
    Date: 2018–09
  12. By: Eliza Starr; Chris Starr; Elaine Worzala
    Abstract: Software technology companies seek to follow the lead of Google, Facebook, Pandora and other successful technology companies with amenities and an open-office design that reflect the company culture. Efforts to attract the millennial generation, retain employees, decrease overall office space size, and increase employee performance may be driving this trend. However, there may be an alternative explanation driving the commercial real estate decision that is tied to the chosen daily business processes of a given company in technology sector.This research explores the connection between the software development processes, agile and waterfall, used by the software technology companies and their corporate real estate (CRE) needs. A questionnaire is used to gather real estate demands from fifteen randomly selected technology companies in Charleston, South Carolina, at three stages of growth – small, medium and large. The survey was developed by interviewing local brokers, architects, and interior designers in order to identify questions that would provide a meaningful dataset on the CRE demands in question. These demands include both quantitative and qualitative measures including square footage per employee, furniture design, additional amenities offered to the employees and office layout. Our primary question is does the business process chosen by the technology companies matter? We expect to find that technology companies using primarily agile processes, which require regular collaboration between employees, would use less square footage per employee due to a shared, flexible, and open office design. Whereas, companies mainly using waterfall processes, which require more heads-down work and less frequent collaboration, would have a higher square foot per employee ratio because of a more private, permanent, and closed office design. Results from this study will be useful for many real estate stakeholders including the tenants/corporate users, brokers, architects, interior designer and the real estate investment community.
    Keywords: agile or waterfall business process; Corporate real estate; Facilities Management; office space; softare development companies
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–01–01
  13. By: Nguyen Thi Thu Phuong (Centre for Analysis and Forecasting, Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences); Laure Pasquier-Doumer (IRD, UMR DIAL, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine)
    Abstract: Household business owners mainly rely on their social networks of strong ties to acquire resources in Vietnam. However, no consensus is found in the literature on the influence of strong ties on the performance of small firms in developing countries. Using an original set of qualitative data, this paper provides new evidence on the influence of social networks on household businesses by following a relational approach of the networks. It contributes to the literature by distinguishing the effects of social networks at different phases of the business cycle. It shows that, in the business creation process, strong ties are by far the preferred source of the initial capital as well as information supports. They shape the business at a small size and make it not adapted to rapid changes in the market demand and the technologies in the latter phase of business development. Weak ties are much less mobilized at the start of the business, but they provide a source of valuable information to create innovative businesses. The more the business grows, the higher is the strength of the weak ties. The study illustrates that the use of social networks, including the weak ties, should be understood to be embedded in family structures and local community contexts, with a set of duties and rights embedded in reciprocal relationships beyond not only the business interactions. Les entreprises informelles comptent principalement sur leurs réseaux familiaux pour acquérir des ressources au Vietnam. Cependant, aucun consensus ne se dégage de la littérature sur l’influence des liens forts sur la performance des petites entreprises dans le contexte des pays en développement. À l’aide d’un corpus d’entretiens original, cet article fournit un nouvel éclairage sur l’influence des réseaux sociaux dans le fonctionnement des petites entreprises. En suivant une approche relationnelle des réseaux, il contribue à la littérature en distinguant les effets des réseaux sociaux à des phases différentes du cycle de vie de l’entreprise. Il montre que les liens forts sont la source privilégiée pour obtenir le capital initial et les informations nécessaires dans le processus de création d’entreprise. L’usage des liens forts façonne l’entreprise en la conditionnant à une petite taille et la rendant inadaptée aux changements rapides de la demande et des technologies. Les liens faibles sont beaucoup moins mobilisés au début de l'entreprise, mais ils constituent une source d'informations précieuses pour créer des entreprises innovantes. Plus l'entreprise se développe, plus les liens faibles deviennent cruciaux. L’étude montre que l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux, y compris des liens faibles, est fortement incluse dans les structures familiales et les contextes communautaires locaux, qui supposent un ensemble de droits et de devoirs, notamment une réciprocité qui va au-delà des relations commerciales.
    Keywords: Social network, strength of ties, informal sector, Vietnam.
    JEL: L14 L26 O17
    Date: 2018–10

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