nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2020‒03‒16
seventeen papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Investment in Quality Upgrade and Regulation of the Internet By Edmond Baranes; Cuong Hung Vuong
  2. Welfare Effects of Introducing Competition in the Telecom Sector in Djibouti By Decoster,Xavier Stephane; Lara Ibarra,Gabriel; Mendiratta,Vibhuti; Santacroce,Marco
  3. The Economics of Social Data By Dirk Bergemann; Alessandro Bonatti; Tan Gan
  4. System needs update upgrading protection against cyberbullying and ICT- enabled violence and harassment in the world of work By De Stefano, Valerio.; Durri, Ilda.; Stylogiannis, Charalampos.; Wouters, Mathias.
  5. Enhancing ICT for Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Thresholds for Complementary Policies By Simplice A. Asongu; Paul N. Acha-Anyi
  6. The best versus the rest: divergence across firms during the global productivity slowdown By Criscuolo, Chiara; Andrews, Dan; Gal, Peter N.
  7. Do Information Technologies Improve Teenagers'Sexual Education ? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Colombia By Chong,Alberto; Gonzalez-Navarro,Marco; Karlan,Dean S.; Valdivia,Martin
  8. Enhancing ICT for insurance in Africa By Asongu, Simplice A; Odhiambo, Nicholas M
  9. Financial Inclusion in the Europe and Central Asia Region : Recent Trends and a Research Agenda By Demirguc-Kunt,Asli; Hu,Bingjie; Klapper,Leora
  10. The Impact of Consumer Protection in the Digital Age: Evidence from the European Union By Anja Rösner; Justus Haucap; Ulrich Heimeshoff
  11. Auction Length and Prices : Evidence from Random Auction Closing in Brazil By Oliveira,Alexandre Borges De; Fabregas Masllovet,Abdoulaye; Fazekas,Mihaly
  13. Tech in Fin before FinTech: Blessing or Curse for Financial Stability? By Nicola Pierri; Yannick Timmer
  14. IoT-enabled farms and climate-adaptive agriculture technologies: Investment lessons from Singapore By Montesclaros, Jose Ma. Luis; Babu, Suresh Chandra; Teng, Paul S.
  15. High-growth Firm Shares in Austrian Regions: The Role of Economic Structures By Klaus S. Friesenbichler; Werner Hölzl
  16. Report on a pilot study to crowdsource farmgate prices for legumes in southern Malawi By Ochieng, Dennis O.
  17. Building a climate change-resilient food system in Korea: The case of extension and technology dissemination services: By Won, Jieun; Babu, Suresh Chandra; Rana, Akriti

  1. By: Edmond Baranes; Cuong Hung Vuong
    Abstract: This paper studies the investment decision by a monopolistic internet service provider (ISP) in different regulatory environments. We consider that the ISP could technically provide separate quality upgrades to two vertically differentiated content providers (CPs); therefore, it could potentially extract the CPs’ marginal profits through an offer to provide the quality upgrades. Our results show that if unregulated, the ISP optimally provides asymmetric quality upgrades, in favor of the high-quality CP. This subsequently increases the degree of content differentiation, softening competition between the CPs. Imposing a nondiscrimination regulation that forces the ISP to provide an equal quality upgrade to both CPs, however, can reduce the ISP.s investment incentive and social welfare. Furthermore, the investment level is higher if the regulated ISP is allowed to charge the CPs. Finally, a socially optimal investment can be opposite to the ISP’s choice when the contents are enough substitutes.
    Keywords: complementary, differentiation, investment, internet, regulation
    JEL: L13 L51 L96
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Decoster,Xavier Stephane; Lara Ibarra,Gabriel; Mendiratta,Vibhuti; Santacroce,Marco
    Abstract: Djibouti is very well placed, as a landing site of undersea fiber optic cables, to benefit from the digital economy. However, the prevalence of a single national telecom operator in the country has stifled service delivery and innovation in the telecom sector. Mobile broadband coverage and access to internet in Djibouti in 2018 remains below that of many Sub-Saharan African countries. This paper simulates the impact of the introduction of competition on the telecom sector's prices and its implications for households'welfare. The analysis finds important gains in welfare among current users of telecom services, with the largest gains going to the richest households. On the extensive margin, the analysis also finds a higher likelihood of take up of telecom services across the consumption distribution but skewed toward the rich. More work is needed to understand the implications of changes in the telecom sector, especially as greater access may lead to more unequal access, at least in the short term.
    Keywords: Information Technology,Inequality,Telecommunications Infrastructure
    Date: 2019–05–07
  3. By: Dirk Bergemann (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Alessandro Bonatti (MIT); Tan Gan (Department of Economics, Yale University)
    Abstract: A data intermediary pays consumers for information about their preferences and sells the information so acquired to ï¬ rms that use it to tailor their products and prices. The social dimension of the individual data - whereby an individual’s data are predictive of the behavior of others - generates a data externality that reduces the intermediary’s cost of acquiring information. We derive the intermediary’s optimal data policy and show that it preserves the privacy of the consumers’ identities while providing precise information about market demand to the ï¬ rms. This enables the intermediary to capture the entire value of information as the number of consumers grows large.
    Keywords: Social data, Personal information, Consumer privacy, Privacy paradox, Data intermediaries, Data externality, Data flow, Data policy, Data rights
    JEL: D44 D82 D83
    Date: 2019–09
  4. By: De Stefano, Valerio.; Durri, Ilda.; Stylogiannis, Charalampos.; Wouters, Mathias.
    Abstract: The term ‘cyberbulling’ has been used to describe aggressive conducts carried out through information and communication technologies (ICT), and can involve picture/video clips, emails, or social network sites, among others. Cyberbullying in the world of work is a relatively recent and unexplored phenomenon, despite the pervasive use of ICT in today’s work environments and arrangements. The paper seeks to start filling this void, also in response to the newly adopted ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190), and accompanying Recommendation (No. 206), that include in their scope violence and harassment occurring also “through work-related communications, including those enabled by information and communication technologies”. This paper examines legal sources around cyberbullying in the world of work; reviews measures adopted across countries to counter bullying and discusses how they could be used to also address cyberbullying. It concludes with preliminary suggestions on possible ways to counter cyberbullying.
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroon); Paul N. Acha-Anyi (Buffalo City, South Africa)
    Abstract: The purpose of this research is to investigate the relevance of enhancing information and communication technology (ICT) on dynamics of total factor productivity (TFP) in 25 Sub-Saharan African countries using data covering the period 1980-2014. The empirical evidence is based on the Generalised Method of Moments. The following main findings are established. First, while enhancing ICT overwhelmingly has net positive effects on productivity, the corresponding marginal effects are negative. Second, anextended analysis is performed to establish thresholds for complementary policies. These thresholds are: 100 % mobile phone penetration for TFP; between 101.214 % and 101.419 % mobile phone penetration for welfare TFP and 15 % internet penetration for welfare real TFP. It follows that approximately 100% mobile penetration and 15% internet penetration are thresholds at which ICT should be complemented with other macroeconomic policies for favorable outcomes on productivity dynamics. Other policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Productivity; Information Technology; Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: E23 F21 F30 L96 O55
    Date: 2020–01
  6. By: Criscuolo, Chiara; Andrews, Dan; Gal, Peter N.
    Abstract: We document that labor productivity of the globally most productive firms – the “frontier” – has diverged from all other firms – the “rest” – throughout the 2000s. This divergence remains after controlling for capital intensity and markups, and is strongest in ICT services, indicative of “winnertakes-all” dynamics. We also find weakening catch-up and market selection below the frontier, which can explain why this divergence at the firm level is linked to weaker aggregate productivity. The divergence is found to be stronger in industries where product market regulations are less competition friendly, highlighting the need for regulatory policy to improve the contestability of markets.
    Keywords: firm dynamics; regulation; knowledge diffusion; technological change; productivity
    JEL: O30 O40 M13
    Date: 2019–08
  7. By: Chong,Alberto; Gonzalez-Navarro,Marco; Karlan,Dean S.; Valdivia,Martin
    Abstract: This study reports results from a randomized evaluation of a mandatory six-month Internet-based sexual education course implemented across public junior high schools in 21 Colombian cities. Six months after finishing the course, the study finds a 0.4 standard deviation improvement in knowledge, a 0.2 standard deviation improvement in attitudes, and a 55 percent increase in the likelihood of redeeming vouchers for condoms as a result of taking the course. The data provide no evidence of spillovers to control classrooms within treatment schools, and it finds that treatment effects are enhanced when a larger share of a student's friends also takes the course. The low cost of the online course along with the effectiveness the study documents suggests this technology is a viable alternative for improving sexual education in middle-income countries.
    Date: 2019–04–17
  8. By: Asongu, Simplice A; Odhiambo, Nicholas M
    Abstract: This study assesses how enhancing information and communication technology (ICT) affects life insurance and non-life insurance in a panel of forty-eight African countries with data for the period 2004-2014. The adopted ICT dynamics are: mobile phone penetration, internet penetration and fixed broadband subscriptions. The empirical evidence is based on Generalized Method of Moments. The results show that enhancing mobile phone penetration and fixed broadband subscriptions has a positive net effect on life insurance consumption while enhancing fixed broadband subscriptions also has a positive net impact of on non-life insurance penetration.
    Keywords: Insurance; Information technology
    Date: 2019–12
  9. By: Demirguc-Kunt,Asli; Hu,Bingjie; Klapper,Leora
    Abstract: Financial inclusion can help promote development. Inclusive financial systems allow people to invest in their education and health, save for retirement, capitalize on business opportunities, and confront shocks. In the Europe and Central Asia region, there is great variation in financial inclusion. In the euro area, most adults already own an account. Account ownership -- which is the first step of entry into the formal financial system has increased in the developing countries in the region, to 65 percent of the adult population from 45 percent in 2011. Tajikistan, Armenia, Moldova, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Georgia are among the countries that have seen the greatest increases globally, despite starting from a very low base. These experiences underline the potential role of digital payments in driving financial inclusion. Nevertheless, almost 30 percent of unbanked adults report lack of trust in banks as a barrier, which is nearly double the developing country average. And in some countries, gender and income gaps in account ownership remain significant. For example, the gender gap is close to 30 percentage points in Turkey, which is three times the average gap in developing countries. And in Romania, the gap between richest 60 percent of the population and poorest 40 percent is 33 percentage points, which is more than twice the average gap in developing countries. But there are many opportunities to increase account ownership. Over 80 percent of the unbanked have a mobile phone, and simply moving public sector pension payments into accounts would reduce the number of unbanked adults in the region by up to 20 million, including 8 million in the Russian Federation alone. Given the heterogeneity of experiences, there are ample opportunities for countries in the region to learn from each other, which lays out a rich research and operational agenda going forward.
    Keywords: Financial Sector Policy,Telecommunications Infrastructure,ICT Economics,Inequality,Educational Sciences
    Date: 2019–04–24
  10. By: Anja Rösner; Justus Haucap; Ulrich Heimeshoff
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of an EU-wide consumer protection regulation on consumer trust as well as consumer behavior. The Unfair Commercial Practice Directive (UCPD) was implemented by EU member states between 2007 and 2010. We utilize data from the Special and Flash Eurobarometer for the years between 2006 and 2014 and experts’ evaluation on consumer protection levels before the introduction of the regulation. This rich data set allows us to apply a difference-in-difference estimator with multiple time periods. We find a significant relationship between the introduction of the UCPD and consumer trust and cross-border purchases for countries with a low consumer protection level before the introduction of the UCPD. The relationship increases over time and stays then relatively constant.
    Keywords: consumer protection, UCPD, B2C, e-commerce, consumer trust, cross-border purchase
    JEL: D18 K20 L50 L51
    Date: 2020
  11. By: Oliveira,Alexandre Borges De; Fabregas Masllovet,Abdoulaye; Fazekas,Mihaly
    Abstract: Electronic reverse auctions are the most used competitive method for procurement of goods and non-consulting services by the Federal Government of Brazil. These auctions are closed randomly, which perfectly satisfies fairness considerations but may be suboptimal from an efficiency perspective. There are concerns that tenders are closed too early and randomness favors bidders with algorithmic bidding software, leading to high prices. Hence, this paper investigates what would happen if the random closing rule was replaced by another rule. The paper uses the complete data set of completed electronic actions in 2015?17 comprising 112 million bids for 0.9 million items purchased. Exploiting the random closing rule, simple OLS models are run with a wide set of fixed effects as well as covariates capturing competition. The findings point at alternative strategies to optimize auction design: simple actions such as increasing the average and minimum length of the random phase can result in 2.8 and 0.6 percent price savings, respectively, or R$540 million and R$116 million per year; or more complex designs such as setting the length to the maximum for the random phase if there are 15 bidders or more can yield 2.6 percent or R$ 500 million a year in price savings, or doing the same if a large discount is placed within three minutes to closing can yield 1.1 percent lower prices or R$ 210 million a year in savings.
    Keywords: Regulatory Regimes,Judicial System Reform,Legal Reform,Legislation,Public Sector Economics,Social Policy,Public Finance Decentralization and Poverty Reduction,Legal Products,International Trade and Trade Rules,Telecommunications Infrastructure,Health Care Services Industry,ICT Applications
    Date: 2019–04–22
  12. By: Radu-Mihai OANTA ("CAROL I" National Defense University, Bucharest, Romania); Toma PLESANU ("Nicolae Balcescu" Land Forces Academy, Sibiu, Romania); Gheorghe MARCU ("CAROL I" National Defense University, Bucharest, Romania)
    Abstract: The knowledge-based society, in which knowledge is much easier to acquire due to the rapid access to information and the alert pace of development of information technology, needs rapid solutions to find reliable sources of information. The article analyses the role of knowledge in contemporary society and the transition towards the organization oriented towards knowledge.
    Keywords: knowledge, information, knowledge-based society, knowledge-based organization
    Date: 2019–11
  13. By: Nicola Pierri; Yannick Timmer
    Abstract: Motivated by the world-wide surge of FinTech lending, we analyze the implications of lenders’ information technology adoption for financial stability. We estimate bank-level intensity of IT adoption before the global financial crisis using a novel dataset that provides information on hardware used in US commercial bank branches after mapping them to their parent bank. We find that higher intensity of IT-adoption led to significantly lower non-performing loans when the crisis hit: banks with a one standard deviation higher IT-adoption experienced 10% lower non-performing loans. High-IT-adoption banks were not less exposed to the crisis through their geographical footprint, business model, funding sources, or other observable characteristics. Loan-level analysis indicates that high-IT-adoption banks originated mortgages with better performance and did not offload low-quality loans. We apply a simple text-analysis algorithm to the biographies of top executives and find that banks led by more “tech-oriented” managers adopted IT more intensively and experienced lower non-performing loans during the crisis. Our results suggest that technology adoption in lending can enhance financial stability through the production of more resilient loans.
    Keywords: technology, financial stability, IT adoption, non-performing loans
    JEL: G21 G14 E44 D82 D83
    Date: 2020
  14. By: Montesclaros, Jose Ma. Luis; Babu, Suresh Chandra; Teng, Paul S.
    Abstract: The adoption of climate-adaptive agricultural technologies (CAATs) for extensive (outdoor) agriculture is stalled by funding gaps experienced by governments in the Mekong countries, with negative implications on the rural farming industry, on income and job security among smallholder farmers, and on food sufficiency and access across the population. We argue that one way of helping bridge these gaps is for providers and users of CAATs for extensive agriculture to learn from the practices of those in CAATs for intensive (indoor) agriculture. Indoor CAATs are already receiving significant private-sector investment, a key reason being their ability to leverage the complementary nature of these technologies within farms that are integrated and enabled to use the so-called Internet of things (IoT). Seamlessly linking different CAATs (sensors, crop analytics, and automation) can allow for synergies that significantly boost crop yields and, in turn, the viability of investing in CAATs. We demonstrate these synergies through two case studies, one that looks at the increasing global investment in indoor CAATs and another that describes a financial viability assessment for an indoor farm in Singapore. We conclude with lessons on how these insights can be transferred to the Mekong countries, including a prototype IoT-enabled extensive farm that integrates multiple CAATs, and an investment assessment tool for translating the yield benefits into terms that investors can appreciate.
    Keywords: SINGAPORE, investment, climate-smart agriculture, private sector, technology, innovation adoption, climate change adaptation, information and communication technologies (icts), internet of things, IoT, climate-adaptive agricultural technologies, UrbanAgInvest, indoor farms,
    Date: 2019
  15. By: Klaus S. Friesenbichler; Werner Hölzl
    Abstract: This paper explores the structural determinants of high-growth firm shares in Austrian regions. The regional level of analysis allows to uncover regularities which are not detectable in firm-level studies. We find that lower mobility barriers, firm exits and technological opportunities, measured by digitalisation intensities, and, to a lesser extent, agglomeration effects are associated with a larger share of high-growth firms. The results suggest that comparisons of shares of high-growth firms across countries and regions should consider differences in the industrial structures together with the often-emphasised differences in policies and regulations.
    Keywords: high growth firms, industrial structure, ICT, Austria, variety, NUTS-3
    Date: 2020–03–12
  16. By: Ochieng, Dennis O.
    Abstract: Little is known about farmgate prices in Malawi since data on the price trends are inconsistently collected. Yet this is important information for assessing the performance of agricultural markets. This report summarizes the findings from a pilot study to crowdsource farm gate prices for pigeon peas and chickpeas through the Farm Radio Trust (FRT) platform. In a series of radio ‘jingles’ and short message service (SMS) ‘pushes’, farmers were invited to report the prices and locations at which they had sold their pigeon peas and chickpeas to a toll-free number or using SMS. The phone numbers of farmers who responded were entered into a weekly draw with the possibility of winning a MWK25,000 coupon redeemable at a major agricultural input dealer. Between August 15, 2019 and November 1, 2019, 637 farmers called or sent short message service (SMS) texts to a toll-free number to report their sales, volume sold, and the type of buyer and location for sales of pigeon peas or chickpeas during the 2019 marketing season. At the end of the pilot, a follow up telephone survey of 468 of the 637 farmers was conducted to obtain detailed information on farmers’ production and marketing activities that were not captured in the initial phone calls.
    Keywords: MALAWI, SOUTHERN AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, prices, legumes, pigeon peas, chickpeas, information and communication technologies (icts), farm radio trust,
    Date: 2019
  17. By: Won, Jieun; Babu, Suresh Chandra; Rana, Akriti
    Abstract: Climate change affects various stages of the food system including production, processing, distribution, and consumption. To cope with this vulnerability, many nations have engaged in a global movement to establish strategies aimed at food security. As in other countries, in the Republic of Korea climate change has had, and will continue to have, a significant influence on the food system, creating many uncertainties. In response, the Korean government and relevant agencies under national strategies have implemented various policy measures and programs to respond to the effects of climate change and strengthen the country’s food resiliency. In this paper we examine those strategies, measures, and specific programs, and in particular those that involve agricultural extension and technology dissemination. These various sector-specific or cross-sector strategies have not only counteracted climate change impacts but also improved the incomes of farming households, who have struggled with import competition and low profitability under Korea’s generally slowing economy. The Korean government has also implemented extension and tech dissemination projects in and with developing countries with the aim of building resilient food systems in the era of climate change. We find that such programs would benefit from the formation and maintenance of international networks, and moreover, each international program must be preceded by a thorough needs assessment that takes into account the regional context and each project should promote appropriate technologies-that is, technologies customized or particularly suited to the local context.
    Keywords: SOUTH KOREA, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, EAST ASIA, ASIA, climate change, resilience, extension activities, advisory services, agricultural extension, technology transfer, smallholders, Information and Communication Technologies (icts), food systems, climate-resilient food system, extension and technology dissemination services, smallholder farmers,
    Date: 2019

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