nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2019‒11‒18
nine papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Internet Usage and the Cognitive Function of Retirees By Colin Green; Likun Mao; Vincent O'Sullivan
  2. Information Technology and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis By Pohjola, Matti
  3. Why do social networks introduce virtual currencies? By Gaston Giordana; Paolo Guarda
  4. The Mysterious Cross-Country Dispersion in Mobile Phone Price Trends By David M. Byrne
  5. Digital inclusion and wellbeing in New Zealand By Arthur Grimes; Dominic White
  6. The impact of robots on labour productivity: A panel data approach covering 9 industries and 12 countries By Andre Jungmittag; Annarosa Pesole
  7. Big Tech Acquisitions and the Potential Competition Doctrine: The Case of Facebook By Mark Glick; Catherine Ruetschlin
  8. Practitioners’ Perception on the Competencies of Real Estate Graduates in Nigeria By J. U. Adama; T. Dugeri; S. Anule
  9. Housing Information Centers - The Spark to African Real Estate Market Dynamism By F. Komu

  1. By: Colin Green; Likun Mao; Vincent O'Sullivan
    Abstract: Cognitive decline amongst older people is associated with poor health and lower quality of life. Previous studies demonstrate that retirement is a particularly critical period for cognitive decline and highlight the importance of post-retirement behaviours. Using longitudinal data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, this study examines the effect of information technology usage on cognitive function, focusing on one specific form: internet usage. We demonstrate that post-retirement internet usage is associated with substantially higher scores on cognitive tests. To address the endogenous relationship between cognitive function and IT usage, we use pre-retirement computer exposure as a source of exogenous variation. Our IV results suggest smaller but still substantial moderating effects of IT usage on the cognitive decline of retirees. These results are concentrated amongst people who worked in middle-skill occupations that experienced large-scale computerisation. More broadly, our results suggest a causal effect of computer usage on the cognitive function of retirees.
    Keywords: Cognitive function, internet, computers
    JEL: J14
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Pohjola, Matti
    Abstract: This paper explores the impacts of information technology investment on economic growth in a cross-section of 39 countries in the period 1980-95 by applying an explicit model of economic growth, the augmented version of the neoclassical (Solow) growth model. The results based on the full sample of 39 countries indicate that physical capital is a key factor in economic growth in both developed and developing countries. Its influence is even bigger than what is implied by the income share of capital in national income accounts. But neither human capital nor information technology seems to have a significant impact on GDP growth. However, investment in information technology has a strong influence on economic growth in the smaller sample of 23 developed (0ECD) countries. Its impact is almost as large as that of the rest of the capital stock. But since the share of IT investment in GDP, although growing, is still much lower than the share of non-IT investment, the net social return to IT capital is much larger than the return to non-IT capital: 60-80 per cent versus 4 per cent, respectively. The estimated return is very high; about twice the return to equipment investment and 10-12 times the return to R&D obtained in similar models as the one applied here.
    Keywords: International Development
  3. By: Gaston Giordana; Paolo Guarda
    Abstract: This paper models how internet platforms decide whether to introduce virtual currencies. Since platforms operate two-sided markets, virtual currencies may attract users who buy goods/services as well as external firms who accept virtual currency as payment. We find that platform incentives to introduce virtual currencies depend on the distribution of wages across the population of users as well as the distribution of preferences for online activities ("digital" preferences). We use Luxembourg data from the EU Survey on Information and Communication Technologies to test model predictions on user time allocation. In particular, we identify various individual socio-economic characteristics linked to time spent on social networks. Then, we use the user net income distribution (conditional on digital preferences) to evaluate conditions determining the platform’s choice of virtual currency design.
    Keywords: Private virtual currencies, social networks, retail payments
    JEL: E42 E5 G23 L5 L82 L86
    Date: 2019–10
  4. By: David M. Byrne
    Abstract: Mobile phones have been central to ICT innovation since the introduction of the smartphone and constant-quality prices are a barometer of their economic impact. Official consumer price indices (CPIs) indicate that impact differs wildly across countries: For the 2008-2018 period, average annual rates of mobile phone inflation range from no change to a 25 percent decline among 12 key countries examined in this paper. Although evidence indicates certain fundamental factors are at play, mis-measurement may lead the spread in rates to be overstated. Examination of methods employed in CPI calculation, including quality adjustment and index formulas, illuminates but does not resolve the mystery.
    Date: 2019–08–05
  5. By: Arthur Grimes (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Dominic White (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)
    Abstract: We examine: (i) which groups have a lower likelihood of being digitally included in New Zealand, and (ii) how digital inclusion relates to wellbeing. Using four large-scale surveys, we identify several groups whose members are prone to relatively low internet access: people living in social housing; disabled individuals; Pasifika; M?ori; people living in larger country towns (10,000-25,000 people); older members of society (particularly those aged over 75 years); unemployed people and those not actively seeking work. Those in social housing and disabled people are particularly disadvantaged with respect to internet access. Disabled people are also at greater risk than others from a virus infection or other internet interference. We identify a number of associative (but not necessarily causal) relationships between internet access and wellbeing. Those with internet access tend to have higher wellbeing and richer social capital outcomes (e.g. voting) than those without access. For adolescents, as internet use on weekdays outside of school increases, students’ subjective wellbeing declines; once daily internet use exceeds about two hours, we find no positive association between internet use and adolescents’ wellbeing. These results are of particular interest given that 15% of 15-year olds (including 27% of M?ori students) report using the internet for more than 6 hours per day on a weekday outside of school, while over half report more than two hours’ use.
    Keywords: internet, digital inclusion, wellbeing, social capital
    JEL: H42 H54 I31
    Date: 2019–10
  6. By: Andre Jungmittag (European Commission – JRC); Annarosa Pesole (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: Based on the expectation that the intensified use of robots contributes to the growth of labour productivity, this paper presents estimates of Cobb-Douglas production functions, using data for 12 EU countries and 9 manufacturing industries. The empirical results for the models pooling all available data confirm that stocks of robots per 1 million Euros non-ICT capital input contribute significantly to labour productivity growth in the period from 1995 to 2015. The results remain robust, when the whole observation period is split into two subsamples from 1995 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2015. Furthermore, the model is used to assess the impact of an increase of robots use on the labour productivity in each of the 9 manufacturing industries considered.
    Keywords: Automation, labour productivity, panel data, production function, productivity measurement, robots
    Date: 2019–10
  7. By: Mark Glick (University of Utah); Catherine Ruetschlin (University of Utah)
    Abstract: The Big Tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, have individually and collectively engaged in an unprecedented number of acquisitions. When a dominant firm purchases a start-up that could be a future entrant and thereby increase competitive rivalry, it raises a potential competition issue. Unfortunately, the antitrust law of potential competition mergers is ill-equipped to address tech mergers. We contend that the Chicago School`s assumptions and policy prescriptions hobbled antitrust law and policy on potential competition mergers. We illustrate this problem with the example of Facebook. Facebook has engaged in 90 completed acquisitions in its short history (documented in the Appendix to this paper). Many antitrust commentators have focused on the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions as cases of mergers that have reduced potential competition. We show the impotence of the potential competition doctrine applied to these two acquisitions. We suggest that the remedy for Chicago School damage to the potential competition doctrine is a return to an empirically tractable structural approach to potential competition mergers.
    Keywords: Antitrust Law, Big Tech Companies, Digital Markets, Mergers, Potential Competition Big Tech Acquisitions and the Potential Competition Doctrine: The Case of Facebook
    JEL: K21 L40 L86
    Date: 2019–10
  8. By: J. U. Adama; T. Dugeri; S. Anule
    Abstract: attained by real estate graduates in Nigeria.Design/Method/Approach – The study adopted questionnaire survey conducted on 357 and 105 Estate Surveying and Valuation Firms in Lagos and Abuja respectively, representing an approximate 57 percent of the total number of practice firms in Nigeria. The questionnaire solicited information on practitioners’ views on competencies, in terms of, knowledge, skills and attributes attained by real estate graduates in the industry. The respondents were asked to rank on a 7-point Likert scale, 24 knowledge areas, 10 skills and 10 attributes identified and conceptualized from literature. Their responses were analysed using frequency distribution and mean rating.Findings – The study revealed that practitioners were positive on their agreement to the graduates’ attainment on only three (3) of the twenty four (24) identified knowledge areas, namely real estate agency, property management and property valuation. While ICT, communication, Personal/Professional development and Honesty were the skills and attributes attained respectively. This clearly suggests the need for stakeholders (academics, regulators and practitioners) to take urgent steps to bridge the obvious gap between the knowledge requirements of practitioners and the knowledge attained by graduates in the study area.Practical Implications – The findings of this paper can be used as framework for curriculum development and redesign as well as serve as a guide for real estate continuing professional development plan.Originality – This paper is one of the few that have identified stakeholders’ perception on competencies attained by real estate graduates in Nigeria.
    Keywords: Competency; Estate Surveying; Nigeria; Professional Skills; Real Estate Graduates
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–09–01
  9. By: F. Komu
    Abstract: This paper is an attempt to examine the extent to which availability and quality of real estate information is influencing the working of real estate markets in Africa. It delves in the discourse of blockchains as applies to real estate market and makes case for the need to steer streamlined development of housing information systems in real estate markets. It is based on a contracted research project commissioned by the Bank of Tanzania in 2017 to design an information Centre for housing in Tanzania. Through direct interviews and questionnaires, the research reached 316 respondents in nine major cities of Tanzania and total of 15 institutions in three selected countries of Kenya, South Africa and Singapore.The study revealed a host of problems. These included low levels of awareness of the processes and procedures in real estate transactions by majority of the respondents (65%), disjointed information process flows in government land administration sectors, information retrieval problems, slow and delayed decision-making process in land and housing ownership transfer documentation, over-reliance of manual filing system, unreliable housing prices and rents in the press, social media and online platforms, unregulated estate agency and limited role of local government units in recording and storing real estate information. Information on options towards housing finance was also limited and only 20% of those interviewed perceived housing as an asset that could be used to create wealth.The paper recommends need for comprehensive and integrated real estate information system that takes advantage of the growing information technologies, changing business and investment environments.
    Keywords: blockchain; housing information asymmetry; Real Estate Markets
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–09–01

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