nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2019‒07‒08
six papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Digitalization and the Future of Work: Macroeconomic Consequences By Arntz, Melanie; Gregory, Terry; Zierahn, Ulrich
  2. The Potential for Blockchain Technology in Corporate Governance By Vedat Akgiray
  3. Financial Technology in Indonesia: A Fragmented Instrument for Financial Inclusion? By Chaikal Nuryakin; Lovina Aisha; Natanael Waraney Gerald Massie
  4. How to quantify what is not seen? Two proposals for measuring platform work By Annarosa Pesole; Enrique Fernandez-Macías; Cesira Urzi Brancati; Estrella Gomez Herrera
  5. News We Like to Share : How News Sharing on Social Networks Influences Voting Outcomes By Pogorelskiy. Kirill; Shum, Matthew
  6. Impacts of industry 4.0 investments on firm performance: Evidence from Italy By Marco Bettiol; Mauro Capestro; Eleonora Di Maria; Andrea Furlan

  1. By: Arntz, Melanie (ZEW Mannheim); Gregory, Terry (IZA); Zierahn, Ulrich (ZEW Mannheim)
    Abstract: Computing power continues to grow at an enormous rate. Simultaneously, more and better data is increasingly available and Machine Learning methods have seen significant breakthroughs in the recent past. All this pushes further the boundary of what machines can do. Nowadays increasingly complex tasks are automatable at a precision which seemed infeasible only few years ago. The examples range from voice and image recognition, playing Go, to self-driving vehicles. Machines are able to perform more and more manual and also cognitive tasks that previously only humans could do. As a result of these developments, some argue that large shares of jobs are “at risk of automation”, spurring public fears of massive job-losses and technological unemployment. This chapter discusses how new digital technologies might affect the labor market in the near future. First, the chapter discusses estimates of automation potentials, showing that many estimates are severely upward biased because they ignore that workers in seemingly automatable occupations already take over hard-to-automate tasks. Secondly, it highlights that these numbers only refer to what theoretically could be automated and that this must not be equated with job-losses or employment effects – a mistake that is done often in the public debate. Thirdly, the chapter develops scenarios on how digitalization is likely to affect the German labor market in the next five years and derives implications for policy makers on how to shape the future of work. Germany is an interesting case to study, as it is a developed country at the technological frontier. In particular, the main challenge will not be the number, but the structure of jobs and the corresponding need for supply side adjustments to meet the shift in demand both within and between occupations and sectors.
    Keywords: automation, digitalization, unemployment, inequality
    JEL: J23 J31 O33
    Date: 2019–06
  2. By: Vedat Akgiray
    Abstract: Beyond bitcoin, blockchain technology has acquired attention and importance in its own right. Today, it is conceptually accepted that blockchain stands out as a disruptive technology that will change a number of processes in financial services and could in turn impact corporate governance. This paper explores the recent applications of blockchain technology in financial services and outlines regulatory responses, to set the scene for future work in this area on corporate governance. This paper provided background for the Corporate Governance Committee’s roundtable discussion on blockchain technology and the implementation of the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance on 10 April 2018. A subsequent presentation of the paper was given at the OECD Workshop on Digital Financial Assets on the 16 May 2018, and at the OECD-Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance in Malaysia on 7-8 November 2018. This work also provides a contribution to the work of the OECD Blockchain Policy Centre.
    Keywords: blockchain, corporate governance, distributed ledger technology, financial market regulation, technological innovation
    JEL: G30 G38 O30 O33
    Date: 2019–06–25
  3. By: Chaikal Nuryakin (Institute for Economic and Social Research, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia); Lovina Aisha; Natanael Waraney Gerald Massie
    Abstract: This study aims to delve deeper into the discussion on how the ?nancial inclusion progress in Indonesia could be affected by the growing ?ntech industry. We shall comprehensively discuss the current state of the platforms in the country, including the potential bene?ts and challenges. Such af?ictions include the hugely-concentrated deposit market, to begin with and the discrepancies between regulators and the technological changes, while the high internet and mobile phone penetration are only one of the many advantages the country are endowed with. The study aims to highlight the challenges faced in increasing ?nancial inclusion before the ?ntech platforms begin to ?ourish and how they differ to the current condition. Novel and relevant policy recommendations are also provided in the latter parts of the discussion.
    Keywords: ?nancial inclusion — ?nancial technology — Indonesia — digital divide
    JEL: G21 G28
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Annarosa Pesole (European Commission - JRC); Enrique Fernandez-Macías (European Commission - JRC); Cesira Urzi Brancati (European Commission - JRC); Estrella Gomez Herrera (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: Digital labour platforms are defined as digital networks that coordinate labour services in an algorithmic way. The rise of digital labour platforms can reshape work organisation and tasks distribution across the workforce, posing new policy challenges. A crucial problem for the design of an adequate policy response is the lack of clear estimates of the prevalence of platform workers. This paper proposes two approaches for measuring platform work. The first approach attempts to measure platform work as individual participation in the labour force through surveys, similarly to what is done by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) for traditional employment. Given the structural differences between traditional employment and platform work, the identification of the latter through surveys should include measures that assess also the regularity, intensity and significance of platform work, with a specific focus on the task performed. The second approach aims at deriving estimates of platform work as labour input. In other words, instead of asking workers if they provide services via platform, the data can be collected from the platform itself. The vast amount of information platforms collect could be used to estimate the number of hours worked via platforms and gather more detailed evidence on wages. However, the mixed use of platforms and the ambiguous identification criteria of individuals on platforms could raise issue of double counting when measuring employment using this second approach.
    Keywords: Digital labour platform, gig workers, technological change, work organisation, employment indicators
    Date: 2019–06
  5. By: Pogorelskiy. Kirill (University of Warwick); Shum, Matthew (Caltech)
    Abstract: More voters than ever get political news from their friends on social media platforms. Is this bad for democracy? Using context-neutral laboratory experiments, we find that biased (mis)information shared on social networks affects the quality of collective decisions relatively more than does segregation by political preferences on social media. Two features of subject behavior underlie this finding: 1) they share news signals selectively, revealing signals favorable to their candidates more often than unfavorable signals; 2) they naıvely take signals at face value and account for neither the selection in the shared signals nor the differential informativeness of news signals across different sources.
    Keywords: news sharing ; social networks ; voting ; media bias ; fake news ; polarization ; filter bubble ; lab experiments
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D72 D83 D85
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Marco Bettiol (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova); Mauro Capestro (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova); Eleonora Di Maria (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova); Andrea Furlan (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova)
    Abstract: The adoption of industry 4.0 technologies is assumed to bring superior competitive advantage for adopting firms as drivers of efficiency, differentiation as well as support to innovation. However, no studies capture the impacts of industry 4.0 technologies on firm’s financial performance. The paper explores the relationship between investments in digital technologies and firm performances, by also examining which are the technologies more likely to be associated with superior performance and eventually the cumulative effect of technologies on performance. Based on unique data gathered in 2017 on a sample of 1,149 Italian firms, results show the positive impacts on adopters’ performance and the role of robotics and laser cutting in this relationship. No cumulative effect (i.e. adopting more than one or two technologies) is instead observed.
    Keywords: digital technologies, performance, strategy, industry 4.0
    Date: 2019–06

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