nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2019‒08‒12
seven papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Inequality, ICT and Financial Access in Africa By Vanessa S. Tchamyou; Guido Erreygers; Danny Cassimon
  2. Narrowing the 'Digital Divide': The Role of Complementarities Between Fixed and Mobile Data in South Africa By Ryan Hawthorne; Lukasz Grzybowski
  3. The efficiency wage hypothesis and the role of corporate governance in firm performance By DiGabriele, Jim; Ojo, Marianne
  4. Does the Internet cause polarization? -Panel survey in Japan- By Tatsuo Tanaka
  5. Who Is Afraid of Machines? By Sotiris Blanas; Gino Gancia; Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee
  6. The Decline of Investment-Adjustment Costs in Japan: Empirical Evidence Using Multiple q Investment Equations (Japanese) By TONOGI Konomi; MIYAGAWA Tsutomu
  7. The Long-Term Consequences of the Tech Bubble on Skilled Workers’ Earnings By Johan Hombert; Adrien Matray

  1. By: Vanessa S. Tchamyou (University of Antwerp, Belgium); Guido Erreygers (University of Antwerp, Belgium); Danny Cassimon (University of Antwerp, Belgium)
    Abstract: This study investigates the role of information and communication technology (ICT) on income inequality through financial development dynamics of depth (money supply and liquid liabilities), efficiency (at banking and financial system levels), activity (from banking and financial system perspectives) and size, in 48 African countries for the period 1996 to 2014. The empirical evidence is based on Generalised Method of Moments. While both financial depth and size are established to reduce inequality contingent on ICT, only the effect of financial depth in reducing inequality is robust to the inclusion of time invariant variables to the set of strictly exogenous variables. We extend the analysis by decomposing financial depth into its components, namely: formal, informal, semi-formal and non-formal financial sectors. The findings based on this extension show that ICT reduces income inequality through formal financial sector development and financial sector formalization as opposed to informal financial sector development and financial sector informalization. The study contributes at the same time to the macroeconomic literature on measuring financial development and responds to the growing field of addressing post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) inequality challenges by means of ICT and financial access.
    Keywords: Inequality; ICT; Financial development; Africa
    JEL: I30 L96 O16 O55
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Ryan Hawthorne; Lukasz Grzybowski
    Abstract: We study substitution between fixed and mobile broadband services in South Africa using survey data on 134,000 individuals between 2009 and 2014. In our discrete-choice model, individuals choose fixed or mobile voice and data services in a framework that allows them to be substitutes or complements. We find that voice services are complements on average but data services are substitutes. However, many consumers see data services as complements. Our results show that having a computer and access to an internet connection at work or school are more important than reducing mobile data prices by 10% in driving broadband penetration.
    Keywords: fixed-to-mobile substitution, mobile broadband, fixed broadband
    JEL: L13 L43 L96
    Date: 2019
  3. By: DiGabriele, Jim; Ojo, Marianne
    Abstract: Implications of the digital economy and its impact on the Economics of Employment in the 21st Century are reflected through lower wages which have been fueled through the rise of Information Technology, with the consequential advents of phenomena such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rise of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, block chain systems, Vertical Integration, Hyper-focused specialty lending, Lender-fintech partnerships, New engagement models, Product Innovation, to name but a few. As well as a consideration of the two-fold contribution to the literature, as highlighted in their paper, “Financial Disruptions and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor” (2017:6), and elaborated on by Epstein et al (2017:6-8), the reconciliation of two quantitative limitations of current general equilibrium theories constituting part of such contribution, is also re iterated. The inability to account for variables which are independent of exogenously or endogenously determined factors and which are outside their model, also necessitates the incorporation of other theories and factors to be taken into account in arriving at more accurate conclusions which determine firm performance.
    Keywords: efficiency wage hypothesis; pro cyclicality; financial cycles; firm performance; corporate governance
    JEL: D4 D8 E3 E5 E6 G2 G3 M4
    Date: 2017–08
  4. By: Tatsuo Tanaka (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)
    Abstract: There is concern that the Internet causes ideological polarization through selective exposure and the echo chamber effect. This paper examines the effect of social media on polarization by applying a difference-in-difference approach to panel data of 50 thousand respondents in Japan. Japan is good case for this research because other factors affecting polarization like huge wealth gap and massive immigration are not serious issue, thus it offers quasi natural experimental situation to test the effect of the Internet. The results show that people who started using social media during the research period (targets) were no more polarized than people who did not (controls). There was a tendency for younger and politically moderate people to be less polarized. The only case in which the Internet increased polarization was for already radical people who started using Twitter. However, since radical people represent only 20% of the population and there was no effect for Facebook or blogs, the overall effect of the Internet was moderation, not polarization.
    Keywords: Polarization, Social media, Difference-in-Difference, Facebook, Twitter
    JEL: L82 L86 H80
    Date: 2019–07–19
  5. By: Sotiris Blanas (National Bank of Belgium); Gino Gancia (Queen Mary University of London, CREI and CEPR); Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee (Queen Mary University of London and CEPR)
    Abstract: We study how various types of machines, namely, information and communication technologies, software, and especially industrial robots, affect the demand for workers of different education, age, and gender. We do so by exploiting differences in the composition of workers across countries, industries and time. Our dataset comprises 10 high-income countries and 30 industries, which span roughly their entire economies, with annual observations over the period 1982 - 2005. The results suggest that software and robots reduced the demand for low and medium-skill workers, the young, and women|especially in manufacturing industries; but raised the demand for high-skill workers, older workers and men - especially in service industries. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that automation technologies, contrary to other types of capital, replace humans performing routine tasks. We also find evidence for some types of workers, especially women, having shifted away from such tasks.
    Keywords: Automation, Robots, Employment, Labor Demand, Labor Income Share
    JEL: J21 J23 O33
    Date: 2019–07–02
  6. By: TONOGI Konomi; MIYAGAWA Tsutomu
    Abstract: With the information and communications technology (ICT) revolution in the 1990s, it has became widely recognized that General Purpose Technologies need complementary intangible investments in addition to traditional tangible investments. As Basu et al.(2003) and Brynjolfsson, Rock and Syverson (2018) pointed out, these complementary expenditures cause a bias in the Solow residuals. While it has been established that traditional tangible investments are accompanied by adjustment costs, Brynjolfsson, Rock and Syverson (2018) regard the adjustment costs as complementary intangible investments which are not measured in GDP statistics. They take estimates of the total stock of research and development (R&D) capital and the total stock of capitalized selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses using the listed items in the financial statements, and find that the adjustment cost of R&D is highest among the categories of capital. Following their problem consciousness, we estimate the investment adjutment costs of Japanese listed firms. But two different points emerge from our estimate: we disaggregate the tangibles along with R&D; based on the interpretation change of the investment adjustment costs, we inspect how the characterics of adjustment costs change from before the ICT revolution of 1997 to after it. We find that investments of [a] Building & Structure, [d] Tools, Furniture & Fixture and [f] R&D are accompanied by their own adjustment costs, which we interpert as complimentary intangible investments, and that their adjustment costs are larger in order. While the fact that the adjustment cost of R&D investmet is estimated largest is consistent with the previous literature, it is notable that these estimated adjustment costs are reduced from the year 1997 and before to the year 1998 and afterwards. These reductions imply that the Japanese economy has been lagging in catching up to the ICT revolution due to the fact that complementary intangible investments were insufficient.
    Date: 2019–07
  7. By: Johan Hombert (HEC Paris and CEPR); Adrien Matray (Princeton University)
    Abstract: Using matched employer-employee data from France, we uncover an ICT boom-cohort discount on the long-term earnings of the large cohort of skilled workers entering in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector during the 1990s Tech Bubble. Despite starting with 5% higher wages, these workers experience lower wage growth and end up with 6% lower wages fifteen years out,relative to similar workers who started outside the ICT sector. Other moments of the wage distribution are inconsistent with selection effects. We provide suggestive evidence that these workers accumulate human capital early in their career that rapidly depreciates.
    Keywords: France
    JEL: O31 J31
    Date: 2019–02

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