nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2020‒07‒13
eleven papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Internet and politics: evidence from U.K. local elections and local government policies By Gavazza, Alessandro; Nardotto, Mattia; Valletti, Tommaso
  2. European Privacy Law and Global Markets for Data By Batikas, Michail; Bechtold, Stefan; Kretschmer, Tobias; Peukert, Christian
  3. Nonverbal content and swift trust: An experiment on digital communication By Zakaria Babutsidze; Nobuyuki Hanaki; Adam Zylbersztejn
  4. Ideologies implicated in IT innovation in government: a critical discourse analysis of Mexico’s international trade administration By Avgerou, Chrisanthi; Bonina, Carla
  5. How design features affect evaluations of participatory platforms By Christensen, Henrik Serup
  6. Online Consumption During the COVID-19 Crisis: Evidence from Japan By Tsutomu Watanabe; Yuki Omori
  7. Media Competition and News Diets By Angelucci, Charles; Cagé, Julia; Sinkinson, Michael
  8. Trading Privacy for the Greater Social Good: How Did America React During COVID-19? By Anindya Ghose; Beibei Li; Meghanath Macha; Chenshuo Sun; Natasha Ying Zhang Foutz
  9. Growth Recurring in Preindustrial Spain: Half A Millennium Perspective By Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos; Prados de la Escosura, Leandro; Santiago-Caballero, Carlos
  10. Time devoted by the elderly to the Internet: Influence of personal and family variables in Mexico and Chile By Campaña, Juan Carlos; Ortega, Raquel
  11. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Regional Lockdown Policies in the Containment of Covid-19: Evidence from Pakistan By Umer, Hamza; Khan, Muhammad Salar

  1. By: Gavazza, Alessandro; Nardotto, Mattia; Valletti, Tommaso
    Abstract: We empirically study the effects of broadband internet diffusion on local election outcomes and on local government policies using rich data from the U.K. Our analysis shows that the internet has displaced other media with greater news content (i.e. radio and newspapers), thereby decreasing voter turnout, most notably among less-educated and younger individuals. In turn, we find suggestive evidence that local government expenditures and taxes are lower in areas with greater broadband diffusion, particularly expenditures targeted at less-educated voters. Our findings are consistent with the idea that voters’ information plays a key role in determining electoral participation, government policies, and government size.
    Keywords: local elections; voter turnout; local government expenditure; media; internet
    JEL: D72 H72 H75 L82 L86 N44
    Date: 2019–10–01
  2. By: Batikas, Michail; Bechtold, Stefan; Kretschmer, Tobias; Peukert, Christian
    Abstract: We demonstrate how privacy law interacts with competition and trade policy in the context of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We follow more than 110,000 websites for 18 months to show that websites reduced their connections to web technology providers after GDPR became effective, especially regarding requests involving personal data. This also holds for websites catering to non-EU audiences and therefore not bound by GDPR. We further document an increase in market concentration in web technology services after the introduction of GDPR. While most firms lose market share, the leading firm, Google, significantly increases market share.
    Keywords: Antitrust; Brussels effect; competition policy; compliance risk; cookies; GDPR; Internet regulation; privacy; web tracking
    JEL: K21 L12 L15 L86
    Date: 2020–03
  3. By: Zakaria Babutsidze (SKEMA Business School, Université Côte d’Azur (GREDEG) and OFCE, Sciences Po Paris); Nobuyuki Hanaki (Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, GREDEG); Adam Zylbersztejn (Univ Lyon, Université Lyon 2, GATE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)
    Abstract: We experimentally study the effect of the mode of digital communication on the emergence of swift trust in a principal-agent relationship. We consider three modes of communication that differ in the capacity to transmit nonverbal content: plain text, audio, and video. Communication is pre-play, one-way, and unrestricted, but its verbal content is homogenized across treatments. Overall, both audio and video messages have a positive (and similar) effect on trust as compared to plain text; however, the magnitude of these effects depends on the verbal content of agent's message (promise to act trustworthily vs. no such promise). In all conditions, we observe a positive effect of the agent's promise on the principal's trust. We also report that trust in female principals is sensitive to the availability of nonverbal cues about interaction partners.
    Keywords: Digital communication, Trust, Hidden action, Nonverbal content, Principal-agent relationship, Promises
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Avgerou, Chrisanthi; Bonina, Carla
    Abstract: We develop a perspective of IT innovation in the public sector as a process that involves three complementary areas of ideology and concomitant dispute. First, the widespread view of e-government as a transformative force that leads to major improvements of public sector functions for the benefit of society at large. Second, ideologies concerning the substantive policies enacted by public sector organizations. Third, ideology regarding public sector modernization. Our research examines how the objectives of IT projects and their actual effects in government are influenced by such ideologies and contestations that surround them. We develop our theoretical contribution with a critical discourse analysis that traces the ideological underpinnings of two consecutive IT projects for the administration of international trade in Mexico. This analysis associates the objectives of the IT projects with the emergence and ensuing contestation in Mexican politics of two ideologies: the first ideology concerns free international trade as imperative for economic development; the second ideology concerns public sector modernization which sought to overcome historically formed dysfunctionalities of public administration bureaucracies by adopting management practices from the private sector. The analysis then identifies the effects of the ideologically shaped IT projects on two key values of public administration, efficiency and legality. The insights of this research on the role of ideology in IT innovation complement organizational perspectives of e-government; socio-cognitive perspectives that focus on ideas and meaning, such as technology frames and organizing visions; and perspectives that focus on politics in IT innovation.
    Keywords: information technology; e-government; public administration; ideology; CDA; Mexico; international trade
    JEL: L81
    Date: 2020–01–01
  5. By: Christensen, Henrik Serup
    Abstract: Online participatory platforms are introduced to boost citizen involvement in political decision-making. However, the design features of these platforms vary considerably, and these are likely to affect how prospective users evaluate the usefulness of these platforms. Previous studies explored how prevalent different design features are and how they affect the success of platforms in terms of impact, but the attitudes of prospective users remain unclear. Since these evaluations affect the prospects for launching successful participatory platforms, it is imperative to assess what citizens want from such digital possibilities for participation. This study uses a conjoint experiment (n=1048) conducted in Finland that explore the impact of seven design features: Discussion possibilities; Interaction with politicians and experts; Information availability, Aim of participation; Identity verification; Anonymous participation and Accessibility. Furthermore, it is examined whether the effects differ across use of ICTs measured by generation, time online and prior use of participatory platforms. The results suggest that most design features have clear effects on evaluations, and that deliberative features have the strongest effects. Furthermore, the effects are relatively stable across prior use although the less experienced put a stronger emphasis on verification.
    Date: 2020–05–22
  6. By: Tsutomu Watanabe (Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo); Yuki Omori (Nowcast Inc.; M.A. candidate, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo.)
    Abstract: The spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections has led to substantial changes in consumption patterns. While demand for services that involve face-to-face contact has decreased sharply, online consumption of goods and services, such as through e-commerce, is increasing. The aim of this study is to investigate whether online consumption will continue to increase even after COVID-19 subsides, using credit card transaction data. Online consumption requires upfront costs, which have been regarded as one of the factors inhibiting the diffusion of online consumption. However, if many consumers made such upfront investments due to the coronavirus pandemic, they would have no reason to return to offline consumption after the pandemic has ended, and high levels of online consumption should continue. Our main findings are as follows. First, the main group responsible for the increase in online consumption are consumers who were already familiar with online consumption before the pandemic and purchased goods and service both online and offline. These consumers increased the share of online spending in their spending overall and/or stopped offline consumption completely and switched to online consumption only. Second, some consumers that had never used the internet for purchases before started to use the internet for their consumption activities due to COVID-19. However, the share of consumers making this switch was not very different from the trend before the crisis. Third, by age group, the switch to online consumption was more pronounced among youngsters than seniors. These findings suggest that it is not the case that during the pandemic a large number of consumers made the upfront investment necessary to switch to online consumption, so a certain portion of the increase in online consumption is likely to fall away again as COVID-19 subsides.
    Date: 2020–06
  7. By: Angelucci, Charles; Cagé, Julia; Sinkinson, Michael
    Abstract: News media operate in two-sided markets, offering bundles of content to readers as well as selling readers' attention to advertisers. Technological innovations in content delivery, such as the advent of broadcast television or of the Internet, affect both sides of the market, threatening the basic economic model of print news operations. We examine how the entry of television affected local newspapers as well as consumer media diets in the United States. We develop a model of print media and show that entry of national television news could adversely affect the provision of local news. We construct a novel dataset of U.S. newspapers' economic performance and content choices from 1944 to 1964. Our empirical strategy exploits quasi-random variation in the timing of the entry of television in different markets. We show that the entry of television was a negative shock for newspapers, particularly evening newspapers, in both the readership and advertising markets. Further, we find a drop in the total quantity of news printed, in particular original reporting, raising concerns about the provision of local news.
    Keywords: advertising; Bundling; Local News; media; newspapers; Television; two-sided markets
    JEL: D4 L11 L15 M37 N72
    Date: 2020–03
  8. By: Anindya Ghose; Beibei Li; Meghanath Macha; Chenshuo Sun; Natasha Ying Zhang Foutz
    Abstract: Digital contact tracing and analysis of social distancing from smartphone location data are two prime examples of non-therapeutic interventions used in many countries to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many understand the importance of trading personal privacy for the public good, others have been alarmed at the potential for surveillance via measures enabled through location tracking on smartphones. In our research, we analyzed massive yet atomic individual-level location data containing over 22 billion records from ten Blue (Democratic) and ten Red (Republican) cities in the U.S., based on which we present, herein, some of the first evidence of how Americans responded to the increasing concerns that government authorities, the private sector, and public health experts might use individual-level location data to track the COVID-19 spread. First, we found a significant decreasing trend of mobile-app location-sharing opt-out. Whereas areas with more Democrats were more privacy-concerned than areas with more Republicans before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant decrease in the overall opt-out rates after COVID-19, and this effect was more salient among Democratic than Republican cities. Second, people who practiced social distancing (i.e., those who traveled less and interacted with fewer close contacts during the pandemic) were also less likely to opt-out, whereas the converse was true for people who practiced less social-distancing. This relationship also was more salient among Democratic than Republican cities. Third, high-income populations and males, compared with low-income populations and females, were more privacy-conscientious and more likely to opt-out of location tracking.
    Date: 2020–06
  9. By: Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos; Prados de la Escosura, Leandro; Santiago-Caballero, Carlos
    Abstract: Research in economic history has lately challenged the Malthusian depiction of preindustrial European economies, highlighting 'efflorescences', 'Smithian' and 'growth recurring' episodes. Do these defining concepts apply to preindustrial Spain? On the basis of new yearly estimates of output and population for nearly 600 years we show that preindustrial Spain was far from stagnant and phases of per capita growth and shrinkage alternated. Population and output per head evolved along supporting the hypothesis of a frontier economy. After a long phase of sustained and egalitarian growth, a collapse in the 1570s opened a new era of sluggish growth and high inequality. The unintended consequences of imperial ambitions in Europe on economic activity, rather than Malthusian forces, help to explain it.
    Keywords: Black Death; Frontier economy; Growth recurring; Malthusian; Preindustrial Spain
    JEL: E10 N13 O10 O47
    Date: 2020–03
  10. By: Campaña, Juan Carlos; Ortega, Raquel
    Abstract: In the context of a growing interest by older individuals in Internet activities, we provide evidence from two OECD countries in Latin America, Mexico and Chile. Using Time Use Surveys, we find, in both countries, that men and women with a university education devote more time to internet activities than those with only a primary education. Furthermore, in Mexico, we observe that women with university education devote less time per week to internet activities than do men with the same level of education. Regarding the presence of children in the household, we observe that, women in Chile devote more time per week to Internet activities than do men, in households with children. Considering that Internet use reduces the isolation or exclusion of individuals in specific socio-economic groups, and, consequently increases the quality of life, the results shown in this paper can be useful in terms of public policy.
    Keywords: Elderly, Internet, Time use, Latin America countries, OECD countries
    JEL: D1 D12
    Date: 2020–06–08
  11. By: Umer, Hamza; Khan, Muhammad Salar
    Abstract: To slow down the spread of Covid-19, administrative regions within Pakistan imposed complete and partial lockdown restrictions on socio-economic activities, religious congregations, and human movement. Here we examine the impact of regional lockdown strategies on Covid-19 outcomes. After conducting econometric analyses (Regression Discontinuity and Negative Binomial Regressions) on official data from the National Institute of Health (NIH) Pakistan, we find that strategies did not lead to a similar level of Covid-19 caseload (positive cases and deaths) in all regions. In terms of reduction in the overall caseload (positive cases and deaths), compared to no lockdown, complete and partial lockdown were effective in four regions: Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan (GB), Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Contrarily, complete and partial lockdowns were ineffective in containing the virus in the Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) regions. A divided response of the government, a significant proportion of daily wagers, poor habitat conditions, religious gatherings, and public attitude towards the virus jointly contributed to the ineffectiveness of lockdowns in the three largest regions. The observed regional heterogeneity in the effectiveness of lockdowns advocates for careful use of lockdown strategies based on the political, demographic, socio-economic, and religious factors.
    Date: 2020–06–08

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