nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2023‒01‒16
thirteen papers chosen by
Marek Giebel
Universität Dortmund

  1. Promoting Environmental Sustainability in Africa: Evidence from Governance Synergy By Awa Traoré; Cheikh T. Ndour; Simplice A. Asongu
  2. Broadband Internet and Attitudes Towards Migrants: Evidence from Spain By Golin, Marta; Romarri, Alessio
  3. Drivers of Inequality in Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Jordan By Reham Rizk
  4. The Potential Impact of Digital Transformation on Egypt By Sherif Kamel
  5. Would Closing the Gender Digital Divide Close the Economic Gender Gap in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies? An Empirical Assessment By Mahmoud Mohieldin; Racha Ramadan
  6. IT companies: the specifics of social networks valuation By K. V. Yupatova; O. A. Malafeyev; V. S. Lipatnikov; V. Y. Bezrukikh
  7. Survival Strategies Under Sanctions: Firm-Level Evidence from Iran By Iman Cheratian; Saleh Goltabar; Mohammad Reza Farzanegan
  8. Digitalization in MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Mobile Internet Uptake and Use in Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA Countries By Izak Atiyas; Mark Dutz
  9. API strategy essentials for Public Sector Innovation: Technical perspective By VACCARI Lorenzino; BOYD Mark; POSADA SANCHEZ Monica
  10. Digital Transformation in Tunisia: Under Which Conditions Could the Digital Economy Benefit Everyone? By Adel Ben Youssef
  11. The Employment Effects of Mobile Internet in Developing Countries By Gaurav Chiplunkar; Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg
  12. Public Procurement and Corruption in South Africa By Klaaren, Jonathan; Belvedere, Florencia; Brunette, Ryan; Gray, Nomtha
  13. Is Covid-19 Increasing Inequalities in Jordan? By Reham Rizk; Racha Ramadan; Rana Hendy

  1. By: Awa Traoré (University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal); Cheikh T. Ndour (University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal); Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé, Cameroon)
    Abstract: The present study complements the extant literature by assessing how environmental sustainability can be promoted by means of policies that entail the simultaneous implementation of six governance dynamics, notably, political governance (political stability/ no violence and ‘voice & accountability’), economic governance (government effectiveness and regulatory quality) and institutional governance (corruption-control and the rule of law). The study focuses on 44 African countries for the period 2000 to 2020 and the empirical evidence is based on the generalized method of moments (GMM). The findings show that while the individual governance indicators positively influence carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the combined or composite governance indicator has a negative effect on CO2 emissions. Moreover, urbanization, economic growth, trade and foreign investment promote CO2 emissions while information and communication technology in terms of mobile phone subscriptions and internet penetration have the opposite effect. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: CO2 emissions, ICT, governance, urbanization, GMM model
    JEL: C33 C52
    Date: 2023–01
  2. By: Golin, Marta (University of Zurich); Romarri, Alessio (University of Milan)
    Abstract: In this paper, we empirically evaluate the effect of exposure to broadband Internet on attitudes towards immigrants. We combine innovative survey data from Spain with information on the characteristics of the Spanish telephony infrastructure. To address the endogeneity of Internet availability, we exploit the fact that high-speed Internet in its early phases was supplied through the existing fixed telephone lines. We use landlines penetration as an instrument for broadband diffusion at the municipality level, and use data from both the pre- and post-Internet period to estimate a difference-in-difference instrumental variable model. We document a positive effect of broadband Internet penetration on attitudes towards immigrants at the municipality level. This result is particularly strong among young and urban individuals. Looking at mechanisms, we find that broadband Internet is associated with a better knowledge of (national) immigration dynamics and smaller concerns about the effects of migration on the labor market. Finally, using a combination of survey and electoral data, we find that broadband Internet penetration reduces political support for the Partido Popular, Spain's traditional right-wing party.
    Keywords: internet, attitudes, immigration
    JEL: D72 D83 J15
    Date: 2022–12
  3. By: Reham Rizk (Universities of Canada in Egypt)
    Abstract: The interaction between the pandemic, school closures, and the digital divide further contributed to inequality in education in Jordan by making it harder for children belonging to poor families to break the intergenerational transmission of inequality. This paper makes use of the ERF COVID-19 Monitor Survey for Jordan to assess the prevalence of the various learning methods used during school closures and the difference in the characteristics of individuals using each method (gender, place of residence, parents’ education and employment, and household income) using a probit model. The paper finds that low household wealth and parents’ education are more likely to limit students’ ability to use online education, books, and written materials, or receive any family help. In-person education is more common among Jordanians, the unemployed or those out of the labor force, and those with less educated parents. The COVID-19 outbreak shed light on the importance of tackling the issue of the digital divide. Government efforts should be directed toward investing more in information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure to be conducive to teaching and learning. In addition, these efforts should also aim to formulate ICT literacy programs to train adults to use the Internet and access children’s e-learning platforms to potentially help them with their schoolwork.
    Date: 2022–11–20
  4. By: Sherif Kamel (American University in Cairo (AUC))
    Abstract: Digital transformation offers Egypt a unique opportunity to transform several economic sectors such as financial services, retailing, healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing while creating opportunities for individuals and enterprises and impacting inclusive development and economic growth. However, while digitalization can make a significant difference in the economy, it should be supported by the required technological infrastructure, human capital, and the appropriate legal, regulatory, and other enabling environments so that digital transformation becomes a platform for equity rather than divide. This paper reviews the current state of the economy, the evolution of information and communication technology in Egypt, and the potential impact digital transformation can have on society
    Date: 2021–09–20
  5. By: Mahmoud Mohieldin (Faculty of Economics and Political Science- Cairo University); Racha Ramadan (Cairo University)
    Abstract: COVID-19 crisis accelerated the use of information technology-based solutions, as e-learning and remote work became the new normal. Nevertheless, access to and use of technology are not gender neutral. In Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs), women have less access to the internet and other technological tools than men. Limited access to technology may hinder women’s access to economic opportunities. Thus, the present paper investigates the impact of the digital gender divide on the gender gap in labor market participation, controlling for the gender gap in education, social norms and other macro-economic characteristics of EMDEs and developed countries. Using World Development Indicators, Global Findex database and World Value Surveys for 2017, a two-stage least squares approach was used to control for the endogeneity of the gender gap in access to internet. The results show that closing the gender gap in internet usage would reduce the gender gap in labor market participation. However, this positive effect is lower in the EMDEs than in advanced economies, shedding the light on the importance of traditional gender roles as key determinant of the gender gap in labor market participation in EMDEs. The present results have important implications for policies targeting women empowerment (SDG5) and reducing inequalities (SDG10). Digital solutions could help segments of women manage and balance familial obligations with paid work better.
    Date: 2022–05–20
  6. By: K. V. Yupatova; O. A. Malafeyev; V. S. Lipatnikov; V. Y. Bezrukikh
    Abstract: The study discusses the main features which affect the IT companies valuation on the example of social networks. The relevance of the chosen topic is due to the fact that people live in the information age now, and information technologies surround us everywhere. Because of this, social networks have become very popular. They assist people to communicate with each other despite of the time and distance. Social networks are also companies that operate in order to generate income therefore their owners need to know how promising and profitable their business is. The social networks differ from traditional companies in this case the purpose of the research is determining the features of social networks that affect the accuracy and adequacy of the results of company valuation. The paper reviews the definitions of information technology, social networks, history, types of social networks, distinguishing features based on domestic and foreign literature. There are analyzed methods of assessing the value of Internet companies, their characteristics and methods of application. There is the six social networks evaluation was assessed in the practical part of the study: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Sina Weibo and Vkontakte on the basis of the literature studied and the methods for evaluating the Internet companies which recommended in it, including the method of discounting the cash flow of the company as part of the income approach and the multiplier method as part of a comparative approach. Based on the analysis, the features that affect the social networks valuation are identified.
    Date: 2022–12
  7. By: Iman Cheratian (Tarbiat Modares University); Saleh Goltabar (Tarbiat Modares University); Mohammad Reza Farzanegan (Philipps-Universität Marburg)
    Abstract: Given the importance of firm strategic management in time of crises, this study investigates Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) survival strategies during the international sanctions against Iran. Using data from a questionnaire of 486 firms between December 2019 to September 2020, we found that firm strategies in reducing research and development (R&D) expenditures, marketing costs, and fixed/overhead costs and investing in information technology (IT) are positively related to their survivability. Conversely, managerial decisions to “reduce production” and “staff pay cut/freeze” have negative and significant impacts on a firm’s ability to survive during sanctions. Moreover, micro firms are more resilient than their small and medium counterparts. The findings also confirm that age has a significant and positive impact on firm survival. Finally, the results show that having a business plan, access to finance and technology, owner education, export orientation, business networking and consulting services are the key drivers of withstanding the pressure from sanctions.
    Date: 2022–08–20
  8. By: Izak Atiyas (Sabanci University); Mark Dutz (The World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on uptake and use of mobile internet-enabled smartphones as a key access technology enabling benefits from digitalization. Geographically, the paper focuses on three regions of the African continent and the Middle East, namely sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), North Africa (NAfr) and non-rich Middle East (NRME) countries. The paper documents positive causal impacts of internet availability on the probability of employment, labor force participation, and falling poverty rates. The paper provides the following new findings. First, the main constraint to the benefits arising from broader digitalization lies not in internet coverage but in too little uptake and use of internet and the range of productive technologies that are enabled by internet. The paper finds that SSA, followed by NRME, South Asia and NAfr regions have the highest uptake gaps in the world, namely the highest percentage of their populations that have no internet use even though they are covered by at least a 3G network. Second, on the demand side, the most important conditional correlates of low uptake and use include low affordability as reflected in low incomes, high data prices and higher income inequality, low capabilities as reflected in low levels of education and skills, low levels of other complementary assets (especially electricity), and low attractiveness as reflected in low perceptions of useful content. The paper finds evidence of a significant positive correlation between lower uptake and lower incomes, lower capabilities, and lower access to electricity. Third, on the supply side, given levels of demand, the offered variety, quality, and price of internet and enabled digital services are critically associated with the level of market competition. The level of competition, in turn, depends on the policy and regulatory frameworks that govern the evolution of these markets. The paper finds evidence of a significant negative correlation between uptake and the degree of concentration in the mobile market as well as the key regulatory variable of Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs). Finally, when explored in a joint regression framework that combines selected demand and supply-side variables, quantitatively the most important variable associated with internet uptake is affordability (proxied by GDP per capita), followed by skills and electricity. Regulatory stance also matters: the statistical significance of market concentration and not MTRs suggests that regulatory actions and timing, including how they affect the nature and sequencing of entry may be more important than policies focusing on MTRs.
    Date: 2022–05–20
  9. By: VACCARI Lorenzino; BOYD Mark; POSADA SANCHEZ Monica (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have an enabling role in establishing digital ecosystems and coordinating digital interactions. A robust and performing technical infrastructure is crucial to ensure a sustainable thriving of digital environments. Within this backdrop, this report explores API-related technical essentials that organisations must consider when designing their digital agendas at tactical, implementation and operative levels. Specifically, it first describes good practices for the management of API software product development as well as for the coordination of API assets within an organisation. Then, it evaluates different mechanisms that foster the uptake of API services by external parties. Later, it describes the main security concerns that need to be tackled by API providers’ organisations to mitigate potential vulnerabilities in their ICT infrastructures. Last, the report describes novel technical solutions that deal with security and privacy issues jointly.
    Keywords: Digital transformation, digital coordination, digital transition, digital governance, digital transition, API
    Date: 2022–10
  10. By: Adel Ben Youssef (University of Côte d’Azur)
    Abstract: Adoption of digital technologies has accelerated largely in the last decade and has reached a critical stage today. The rapid diffusion of digital technologies has fostered the use and exploration/exploitation of new possibilities based on the internet. Therefore, this paper discusses the current state, main opportunities and challenges of digital transformation in Tunisia. First, it relies on up-to-date information to describe the current diffusion and use of digital technologies in Tunisia. This would allow a better understanding of how infrastructure, equipment, access and use of these technologies are diffusing among the population. Second, it takes account of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on how the use of digital technologies is developing and to what extent the pandemic has fostered or hampered the digital transformation in Tunisia. Third, most of the existing literature describes digitalization and its impacts without offering clear explanations related to the prerequisites for full exploitation of the potentialities of the technologies in an inclusive manner. Fourth, we examine the prerequisites for reaping digital dividends and moving toward building new jobs and skills, the change of organizational practices and towards safe, secure digital technologies.
    Date: 2021–11–20
  11. By: Gaurav Chiplunkar; Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg
    Abstract: We examine the employment effects of 3G mobile internet expansion in developing countries. We find that 3G significantly increases the labor force participation rate of women and the employment rates of both men and women. Our results suggest that 3G affects the type of jobs and there is a distinct gender dimension to these effects. Men transition away from unpaid agricultural work into operating small agricultural enterprises, while women take more unpaid jobs, especially in agriculture, and operate more small businesses in all sectors. Both men and women are more likely to work in wage jobs in the service sector.
    JEL: J21 J62 O30 O50
    Date: 2022–12
  12. By: Klaaren, Jonathan; Belvedere, Florencia; Brunette, Ryan; Gray, Nomtha
    Abstract: Like many other countries, South Africa depends heavily on its public procurement system and faces persistent issues of corruption within that system. Its regulatory regimes for public procurement and for anti-corruption are nonetheless distinct. Despite knowledge of significant corruption in the final decades of apartheid, anti-corruption was treated as a secondary rather than a primary objective in the initial phase of post-apartheid reform and design of public procurement. Rules against corruption in public procurement have largely taken the form of criminal offences in the anti-corruption regime, and the form of administrative rules internal to government within the public procurement system, neither of which has been effective. The lack of attention to the overlap of these two regimes has created the potential for continued growth of corruption in public procurement. As a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to the grand corruption termed ‘state capture’, the South African government has recently introduced several measures and strengthened institutions to address corruption linked to public procurement; these are more investigative and ad-hoc than systemic and preventative. Finally, we briefly describe and then examine the place of information technology in South African public procurement, particularly in advancing the anti-corruption goal.
    Date: 2022–11–25
  13. By: Reham Rizk; Racha Ramadan; Rana Hendy
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic poses massive economic challenges on the Jordanian economy, as well as on other economies in the region and worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing inequalities, economic and non-economic inequalities, between the different socio-economic groups. Hence, understanding the determinants of inequalities and the characteristics of the vulnerable groups are required to provide adequate policies to reduce inequalities, eradicate poverty and leave no one behind. Within this context, the present report overviews the inequality status in Jordan, before and after the outbreak of COVID-19. Based on data availability, the report tackles inequality in expenditure as a proxy of income inequality. While for inequalities in capabilities, the report focuses on inequality in educational outcomes and opportunities. The report summarizes the results of the empirical analysis conducted through research partnership between UNDP Jordan and Economic Research Forum.* The report sheds the light on the drivers of income inequality and examines inequalities of opportunities and of outcomes in education using the latest rounds of the Jordan Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES). COVID-19 raises the renewed concerns about inequality. Leveraging on the second wave of the COVID-19 MENA Monitor data, collected by ERF, we examine the impact on income inequality and education. The analysis shows that income inequality is mainly driven by differences in the socioeconomic characteristics of individuals such as education level, employment status and geographical location, as well as the returns to such characteristics. Geographical inequality is in favor of the urban areas. While the gender wage gap is in favor of men, the gender expenditure gap is in favor of female-headed households. Inequality of outcomes in education is related to individual effort such as time and effort spent on educational attainment and measured using the highest educational level attained by students over the period from 2008 to 2017. The findings show that overall inequality of educational outcomes has been widening over time in particular with completing secondary education and above compared to basic completion. The main drivers of educational inequality include parental wealth and education. Additionally, girls in Jordan are less likely to complete basic education compared to boys. The results show that inequality of opportunity in education arises from circumstances beyond the individual’s control such as parental education and financial resources. Inequality in educational opportunities at the completed primary level for young people is persistently high, with wealth being the most influential factor. Inequality of opportunity at the secondary level of education and higher has worsened over time with household wealth being the most important determinant. Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on income, by examining the impacts of the individuals’ and households’ characteristics on the vulnerability of losing income, show that the economic drawback of the pandemic has disproportionate impacts on individuals according to their economic activity, education level, nationality, gender, income group and age. Women, youth, Syrians and individuals living in urban areas are more likely to have lost income during the crisis. Moreover, employment is a key determinant. Informal employees, those working in hard-hit sectors and those who were suspended or had a decline in their wage payment, are more vulnerable to decreasing household income. The report pursues answering the questions of how children’s education are influenced by school closures as a response to COVID-19 outbreak. We examine the socioeconomic status of households using different educational tools during the COVID-19 school closure. The main drivers of inequality for education are families’ education and financial resources. Families play a very important role in helping their children in using online platforms and books. The usage of online education and receiving parents’ help contribute to unequal opportunities for kids in school. Moreover, educated parents can assist their kids in schoolwork and measure their performance over time. Several policy lessons can be concluded from the analysis. Fiscal reforms are required, with removal of subsidies for richer households, poverty reduction programs targeting the poorest and vulnerable segment and improve targeting of social protection schemes. More measures are needed to support jobs and workers. For instance, temporary cash transfers for the lay-offs and self-employed. For education, the government needs to take additional actions to guarantee basic schooling for children, reduce school dropout rates, and improve the quality of education. Other policy options include awareness campaigns, offering conditional cash assistance targeting the least advantaged families to help their children progress at school. As parents’ education is one of the main drivers of inequality of outcomes in education; the government can design programs to reduce illiteracy rates and to formulate ICT literacy programs, particularly for adults. Finally, it is worth noting that the presented analysis is limited by data availability and by the different variants of the COVID-19 that may continue affecting the labor market and the economy.
    Date: 2022–08–20

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