nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2021‒03‒22
eleven papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Mobile Internet Adoption in West Africa By Rodriguez Castelan, Carlos; Ochoa, Rogelio Granguillhome; Lach, Samantha; Masaki, Takaaki
  2. Does online search improve the match quality of new hires? By Gürtzgen, Nicole; Lochner, Benjamin; Pohlan, Laura; van den Berg, Gerard J.
  3. The Social Dilemma of Big Data: Donating Personal Data to Promote Social Welfare By Kirsten Hillebrand; Lars Hornuf
  4. Certification in Digital Transactions : Determinants of Effectiveness in the Context of Information Asymmetry By Siegfried, Nils
  5. The effects of personal information on competition: Consumer privacy and partial price discrimination By Clavorà Braulin, Francesco
  6. Why microfinance institutions go digital: An empirical analysis By Gregor Dorfleitner; Davide Forcella; Quynh Anh Nguyen
  7. Uncovering progress of health information management practices: evidence from Kuwait’s public health care system By Alhuwail, Dari
  8. Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Sustainable Entrepreneurship By Steve J. Bickley; Alison Macintyre; Benno Torgler
  9. The role of innovation and human capital for the productivity of industries By Emile Cammeraat; Lea Samek; Mariagrazia Squicciarini
  10. Does automation erode governments' tax basis? An empirical assessment of tax revenues in Europe By Kerstin H\"otte; Angelos Theodorakopoulos; Pantelis Koutroumpis
  11. The Sustainability, Traceability and Succession of the Quebec Agri-Food Sector Depends on an Acceleration of Digitization By Henri-Paul Rousseau

  1. By: Rodriguez Castelan, Carlos (World Bank); Ochoa, Rogelio Granguillhome (World Bank); Lach, Samantha (World Bank); Masaki, Takaaki (World Bank)
    Abstract: Mobile broadband internet is the main technology through which individuals access the internet in developing countries. Understanding the barriers to broadband adoption is thus a priority in designing policies aiming to expand access and close the digital divide across socioeconomic groups and territories. This paper exploits data from harmonized household expenditure surveys in seven countries in West Africa in 2018/19 — a subregion with one of the lowest levels of mobile internet penetration in the world — to identify the main factors that limit mobile broadband internet adoption. Results show that low levels of household consumption and prices of services are two key constraints. One standard deviation increase in household expenditure, about US$65 per capita per month, is associated with a 6.5 percentage point rise in the probability of adoption, while one standard deviation drop in the price of mobile internet services, about US$3.60, increases the probability of adoption by 2.4 percentage points. Other determinants include demographic characteristics (sex, age, language, urban location), socioeconomic features (educational attainment, sector of employment), and other factors linked to policy (access to electricity, ownership of assets, alternative means of internet access). Results are robust to specifications focusing only in areas with mobile internet coverage (3G).
    Keywords: internet adoption, mobile broadband, household consumption, West Africa
    JEL: C25 C52 D12 L86 O55
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Gürtzgen, Nicole; Lochner, Benjamin; Pohlan, Laura; van den Berg, Gerard J.
    Abstract: This paper studies the effects of the high-speed internet expansion on the match quality of new hires. They combine data on internet availability at the local level with German individual register and vacancy data. Results show that internet availability has no major impact on the stability of new matches and their wages. The authors confirm these findings using vacancy data, by explicitly comparing match outcomes of online and non-online recruits. Further results show that online recruiting not only raises the number of applicants and the share of unsuitable candidates per vacancy, but also induces employers to post more vacancies.
    Keywords: Matching,online search,information frictions,recruiting channels
    JEL: J64 H40 L96 C26
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Kirsten Hillebrand; Lars Hornuf
    Abstract: When using digital devices and services, individuals provide their personal data to organizations in exchange for gains in various domains of life. Organizations use these data to run technologies such as smart assistants, augmented reality, and robotics. Most often, these organizations seek to make a profit. Individuals can, however, also provide personal data to public databases that enable nonprofit organizations to promote social welfare if sufficient data are contributed. Regulators have therefore called for efficient ways to help the public collectively benefit from its own data. By implementing an online experiment among 1,696 US citizens, we find that individuals would donate their data even when at risk of getting leaked. The willingness to provide personal data depends on the risk level of a data leak but not on a realistic impact of the data on social welfare. Individuals are less willing to donate their data to the private industry than to academia or the government. Finally, individuals are not sensitive to whether the data are processed by a human-supervised or a self-learning smart assistant.
    Keywords: data philanthropy, sustainable development, decision-making, privacy, environmental protection, public health
    JEL: C71 H41 I18 O35 Q56
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Siegfried, Nils
    Abstract: Digital transactions enable individual consumers and organizations to exchange goods and services in an easy and flexible manner, driving market dynamics and promoting new business models. Increased speed in transactions and volatility in market participants, however, come at the downside of frequent evaluations of transaction partners and the need for deliberate decision-making in the light of growing product and service complexity. Digital environments make it harder to inspect products or services, which may rely on critical platforms or infrastructure that are completely hidden from transaction partners but are substantial to service quality. In consequence, information is distributed unequally between transaction partners and measures have to be adopted to overcome this asymmetry to build trust and foster transactions. Certifications are a means to signal true quality between transaction partners by providing information, to which regard specific requirements are fulfilled. In the certification process, an evaluation against a predefined set of criteria is performed and official documentation by a third-party certification authority is provided. By inspecting this documentation, potential transaction partners are provided with introspection into otherwise unobservable aspects of product or service quality. Hence, certifications can help to bridge information asymmetry prior to transactions. While they have been adopted in various contexts and were subject to prior research, understanding about their inner workings is limited and findings on their effectiveness remain inconclusive. The focus of prior research has been on the effect of mere presence vs. absence of certifications. While the findings of these studies helped to understand the effect of certifications as unitary cues, they did not investigate how the particular design of certificates in terms of their assurances influences their effect. Moreover, the results were ambiguous as some could find significant influences on the formation of trust and the intention to transact, while others could not. Besides, another important aspect was hardly covered: the embedding of certification in its environment. This includes characteristics of the transaction parties that perceive a certification, their prior relationship, and the context, in which the certification is used. To contribute to a better understanding of certification effectiveness, incorporating its internal characteristics and external embedding, four research studies have been conducted. The first study provides a literature review on the theoretical frameworks used in existing research on certifications in Information Systems. Study two focuses in detail on certifications and their content, investigating differences in relative importance of assurances between customers and providers in the context of cloud service certifications. Shifting the focus from its content to characteristics of recipients, the third study analyzes how the effect of certification changes, depending on prior experiences in a customer-provider relationship. An online scenario experiment was conducted, simulating e-commerce purchase decisions at different qualities and quantities of prior shopping experience. The fourth study investigates a particular form of certification in the context of the sharing economy. In an online experiment, the role of certification of users’ identity on the formation of trust and intentions to engage in a transaction was analyzed. The findings of these studies enrich the theoretical understanding of certifications in Information Systems in different aspects. Shifting the focus of investigation from certification as a unitary cue to a bundle of assurances, it becomes apparent that one certification can be perceived differently depending on recipient characteristics and the relative importance of assurances. Moreover, the certification’s environment plays an important role towards its effectiveness. Influencing factors as industry, the prior experiences in a provider-customer relationship or the transaction context were identified. Besides, on a research level, the theoretical lenses used to study certification varied in prior research, which may partly explain for ambiguous findings. Overall, this thesis finds that a more fine-grained, context-aware analysis of certifications in Information Systems is beneficial to understand their influence on market participants and to enable better prediction of their effectiveness in practice.
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Clavorà Braulin, Francesco
    Abstract: This article studies the effects of consumer information on the intensity of competition. In a two dimensional duopoly model of horizontal product differentiation, firms use consumer information to price discriminate. I contrast a full privacy and a no privacy benchmark with intermediate regimes in which the firms target consumers only partially. No privacy is traditionally detrimental to industry profits. Instead, I show that with partial privacy firms are always better-off with price discrimination: the relationship between information and profits is hump-shaped. Consumers prefer either no or full privacy in aggregate. However, even though this implies that privacy protection in digital markets should be either very hard or very easy, the effects of information on individual surplus are ambiguous: there are always winners and losers. When an upstream data seller holds partially informative data, an exclusive allocation arises. Instead, when data is fully informative, each competitor acquires consumer data but on a different dimension.
    Keywords: price discrimination,data broker,consumer information,privacy
    JEL: D43 L11 L13
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Gregor Dorfleitner; Davide Forcella; Quynh Anh Nguyen
    Abstract: While the role of digital solutions to foster financial inclusion and the development of the microfinance sector are widely acknowledged, questions concerning the variation in the ability and willingness of microfinance institutions’ (MFIs) adoption of these tools remain unanswered. This paper studies the determinant of the use of digital support solutions in the microfinance sector by using a global sample of MFIs derived from a survey by YAPU Solutions on rural lending and IT solutions. We discover the evidence that suggests the adoption of these tools is consistent with the social performance of MFIs. Furthermore, the results of the study indicate that the profitability of the institutions is associated with a larger application of digital support solutions. Macroeconomic factors, the development of the country in which the institution is located, also impact MFIs’ decisions regarding integrating digital solutions into their services and internal operational processes.
    Keywords: Microfinance institutions; Fintech; Digital solutions; Social performance; Digitization
    JEL: G21 O33
    Date: 2021–03–17
  7. By: Alhuwail, Dari
    Abstract: Background: The burden of chronic non-communicable diseases is a challenge for many countries that provide universal health coverage and is necessitating healthcare reform. Health information technology (IT) solutions can aid healthcare reform efforts. However, without proper information management, these efforts are futile. In this study, we examine Kuwait as a case of a high per-capita GDP country that faces information management challenges to draw insights that can be generalised to other developed countries. Objectives: This study aims to: (i) uncover the status quo of information management practices in public organisations providing secondary and tertiary care through comparing their progress in compliance with the information management standards across the years; and (ii) offer recommendations to improve information management practices. Method: This study analyses qualitative and quantitative accreditation-related data pertaining to compliance with the information management standard at all secondary and tertiary care public hospitals over two accreditation cycles. Results: Overall, public hospitals are making positive progress in their compliance with the information management standard. However, issues exist with (i) effectively and efficiently transmitting data; (ii) developing and implementing an information management plan; (iii) involving the appropriate stakeholders in selecting health IT solutions; and (iv) access to the Internet by staff and patients. Conclusion: The evidence underscores the benefits of complying with predetermined criteria and illustrates the overall improvements in information management practices. Without proper management of information at healthcare facilities, achieving safe and effective patient care is futile. The absence or lack of appropriate management of information can jeopardise patient safety through wrong prescriptions for example. The role of health IT in supporting good quality care and healthcare reform efforts cannot be ignored or sidelined any more in modern healthcare delivery. Implications: With the rapid adoption of digital health systems, the role of health information management leaders should not be undervalued. Embracing health IT solutions with strong information management practices can aid healthcare reform efforts.
    JEL: J50
    Date: 2021–01–01
  8. By: Steve J. Bickley; Alison Macintyre; Benno Torgler
    Abstract: The recent acceleration and ongoing development in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its related (and/or enabling) digital technologies presents new challenges and considerable opportunity on which businesses and individuals may capitalise. In the era of BD – and with increasing societal value being placed on sustainable business to minimise or mitigate the impacts of climate change – customers and regulators alike are turning to organizations to tackle large and complex sustainable development goals. AI and BD can help interpret and monitor the environment, identify which problems need attention, design strategies, generate decisions, and action the tactics. A key challenge in sustainable entrepreneurship is a failure to integrate ‘systems thinking’ beyond a limited number of issues, rather than taking the time to understand the relationship between business processes, macro ecological processes, boundary conditions, and tipping points. The recent and substantial increase in data availability simultaneously advances the potential for AI and BD to enhance ecological sustainability through validation and testing of beliefs and hunches, offering empirical guidance to every stage involved in decision making, and comparing inputs against the outcomes – particularly in fast-changing and highly uncertain environments. To prepare, we must strategize by looking to and engaging with the market, our clients, and our customers for guidance. Only then can we then proceed to develop viable and sustainable business models and plans. To reap the rewards of progress in AI, BD, and related technologies, we need to find ways to race with the emerging technologies while also identifying ways to act in symbiosis with them. The demands of adapting to AI and BD are no different from the situation with past disruptive technologies such as the automobile, radio, and the Internet.
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence; Big Data; Entrepreneurship; Sustainability; Expert Systems
    Date: 2021–03
  9. By: Emile Cammeraat (OECD); Lea Samek (OECD); Mariagrazia Squicciarini (OECD)
    Abstract: This paper sheds light on the relationship between innovation, human capital endowment and upgrading, organisational capital (OC) and labour productivity. In addition to assessing correlations, it uses a Heckman selection model to address causal links and to account for the ways in which skills and investment in R&D affect the probability of innovating. The analysis finds that innovative output, the proportion of OC-related workers, investment in training (especially in informal training) and physical capital intensity are positively and significantly related to productivity. In most estimates ICT skills, cognitive skills and the presence of highly skilled workers in an industry also emerge as having a significant and positive relationship with productivity. ICT skills further appear to indirectly shape productivity, through a positive relationship with innovation.
    Keywords: Human Capital, ICT, Innovation, Labour Productivity, Organisational Capital, Patent, R&D, Skills, STEM, Training
    Date: 2021–03–16
  10. By: Kerstin H\"otte; Angelos Theodorakopoulos; Pantelis Koutroumpis
    Abstract: Decomposing taxes by source (labor, capital, sales), we analyze the impact of automation (1) on tax revenues, (2) the structure of taxation, and (3) identify channels of impact in 19 EU countries during 1995-2016. Robots and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are different technologies designed to automate manual (robots) or cognitive tasks (ICT). Until 2007, robot diffusion led to decreasing factor and tax income, and a shift from taxes on capital to goods. ICTs changed the structure of taxation from capital to labor. We find decreasing employment, but increasing wages and labor income. After 2008, robots have no effect but we find an ICT-induced increase in capital income, a rise of services, but no effect on taxation. Automation goes through different phases with different economic impacts which affect the amount and structure of taxes. Whether automation erodes taxation depends (a) on the technology type, (b) the stage of diffusion and (c) local conditions.
    Date: 2021–03
  11. By: Henri-Paul Rousseau
    Abstract: in collaboration with Christophe Mondin To promote local purchasing and production and to strengthen supply chains while accelerating the green shift in Quebec’s agri-food sector, digitization is imperative. Because only the digitization of food production, processing and distribution will generate the data needed to achieve these objectives. Digitization will also make it possible to “trace” the food we produce and thus validate its quality and origin, requirements that have become essential for both domestic and international markets. Thanks to this data on Quebec’s agri-food ecosystem, we will be able to make our supply chains more resilient as well as measure and ultimately reduce the ecological footprint of agri-food chains. To make the digitization of these sectors a real priority, certain conditions must be met beforehand: equip all agricultural regions with high-speed Internet connections, establish an inventory for each sector, quickly create a monitoring center to benefit from foreign experiences and mobilize, for several years, a team dedicated fulfill this project. These are certainly demanding conditions, but they are also very structuring for the Quebec economy.
    Keywords: Traceability,Digitization,Agri-food,,Data,Sustainability,Blockchain,
    Date: 2021–03–10

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