nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2024‒02‒05
six papers chosen by
Marek Giebel, Universität Dortmund

  1. ICT Usage Intensity in the Hungarian Corporate Sector: Stylised Facts on Microdata By Tamas Berki
  2. Digital technology adoption and SMEs’ Financial Performance: Evidence from Thailand By Juthathip Jongwanich; Archanun Kohpaiboon
  3. Digital Skills of Russian Citizens: Regional Differences By Karelin, Iliya; Kapelyuk, Sergey
  4. Gen-AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work By Mauro Cazzaniga; Ms. Florence Jaumotte; Longji Li; Mr. Giovanni Melina; Augustus J Panton; Carlo Pizzinelli; Emma J Rockall; Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
  5. The Digital Economy in Thailand: Potential and Policies By Juthathip Jongwanich
  6. Commuting and internet traffic congestion By Berliant, Marcus

  1. By: Tamas Berki (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the Central Bank of Hungary))
    Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the information and communication technology (ICT) usage patterns of Hungarian companies, relying on a company-level questionnaire survey conducted in 2020, and combining it with data from corporate annual reports. Our main objective is to construct an index of ICT usage patterns in the Hungarian business sector that reflects the digitisation level (ICT usage intensity) of companies and amalgamates into a single indicator the questionnaire survey information relevant to ICT usage. After aggregating (scoring) the qualitative questionnaire data, we used factor analysis to identify four distinct areas that are associated with the digitisation levels of the different business functions. These are the following: area responsible for integrating business functions, e-administration, IT infrastructure, and marketing and communications. The digitisation headline index is derived from the subindices of these four areas. Our paper also aims to map the patterns of ICT use by company size, sector, productivity and export activity. The intensity of ICT use is closely correlated with company size, export activity and productivity. Companies with more employees or higher productivity tend to be more intensive users of technologies. Firms that also export tend to use ICT more extensively than non-exporting ones. Technology use varies markedly from sector to sector, both in terms of the range of technologies used and their sophistication.
    Keywords: use of information and communication technologies, enterprise microdata, questionnaire survey, composite index, factor analysis.
    JEL: C43 C81 L25 O30
    Date: 2024
  2. By: Juthathip Jongwanich; Archanun Kohpaiboon (Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University)
    Abstract: This paper aims to examine the impacts of digital technology (DT) adoption, with an emphasis on the role of ICT, on SMEs’ financial performance using Thailand as a case study during 2018-2021. The importance of DT depth and personnels graduated in a field of ICT was also investigated in this study. Our results show that types of ICT adoption, size of firms and sectors mattered in analyzing impacts of DT on firms’ financial performance. SMEs received significant benefits when ICT adoption was considered in terms of purchasing goods and services via the Internet; sales online (e-Commerce) as well as online payments. Due to the nature of industry, the service sector tended to gain more benefits from operating through online activities than the manufacturing sector. In terms of software usage, it generated benefits mostly for the medium and large firms, but less crucial for the small ones. Interestingly, access to the internet, with other purposes than the e-commerce, showed limited impacts in influencing firms’ financial performance, even in the large firms. Regarding the technology depth, in general, the results revealed that it generates more positive impacts on income than profits, reflecting high costs of obtaining advanced technology or diversifying DT usage. Limited impacts of ICT personnels graduated and its depth on SMEs’ performance generated concerns on shortages of basic and advanced ICT skills and costs of hiring ICT staffs for SMEs.
    Keywords: Digital Technologies, SMEs, and Developing Countries
    JEL: O30 O11 O53
    Date: 2024–01
  3. By: Karelin, Iliya; Kapelyuk, Sergey
    Abstract: Digital skills have become a key component of human capital, influencing employment, career growth, and access to public services. However, the expanding digital divide underscores the importance of estimating and explaining regional variations. This study aims to empirically analyze differences among Russian regions in the prevalence of digital skills among their residents. By identifying factors contributing to digital inequality, this research seeks to contribute to narrowing the digital gap and promoting equitable access to digital opportunities across regions. We conducted a review of theoretical explanations for regional differences in human capital. Utilizing correlation analysis, we empirically tested several theories using the microdata of the Survey on the use of information technologies and information and telecommunication networks conducted by Rosstat. The study revealed that regional disparities in the prevalence of digital skills are more prominent for advanced competencies. Basic skills are consistently high across the Russian labor force aged 15–74, demonstrating minimal regional variation due to the widespread adoption of digital technologies. In contrast, intermediate and advanced digital skills experience substantial regional disparities. The findings highlight the influential role of three factors – the share of the creative class in the region, labor market tightness, and the consumption of cultural goods – in contributing to regional variations in digital skills. Importantly, these factors overshadow traditional explanations such as living standards, urbanization, and age differences. As the digitization of Russia's labor market advances, understanding the regional differences in digital skills proficiency becomes crucial. This research demonstrates that regional variations in digital skills levels are influenced by the same factors that contribute to spatial differences in human capital. Recognizing these regional differences is essential for lowering the digital divide in the country.
    Keywords: digital skills; digital competencies; digital inequality; digital divide; Russian regions; regional differentiation; creative class; labor market tightness; cultural consumption
    JEL: J24 R23
    Date: 2023–12–16
  4. By: Mauro Cazzaniga; Ms. Florence Jaumotte; Longji Li; Mr. Giovanni Melina; Augustus J Panton; Carlo Pizzinelli; Emma J Rockall; Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
    Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to reshape the global economy, especially in the realm of labor markets. Advanced economies will experience the benefits and pitfalls of AI sooner than emerging market and developing economies, largely due to their employment structure focused on cognitive-intensive roles. There are some consistent patterns concerning AI exposure, with women and college-educated individuals more exposed but also better poised to reap AI benefits, and older workers potentially less able to adapt to the new technology. Labor income inequality may increase if the complementarity between AI and high-income workers is strong, while capital returns will increase wealth inequality. However, if productivity gains are sufficiently large, income levels could surge for most workers. In this evolving landscape, advanced economies and more developed emerging markets need to focus on upgrading regulatory frameworks and supporting labor reallocation, while safeguarding those adversely affected. Emerging market and developing economies should prioritize developing digital infrastructure and digital skills
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence; Labor Market; Job Displacement; Income Inequality; Advanced Economies; Emerging Market Economies; Low-Income Developing Countries; AI preparedness index; AI benefit; AI exposure; ICT employment share; AI adoption; Emerging and frontier financial markets; Income; Global; Africa
    Date: 2024–01–14
  5. By: Juthathip Jongwanich (Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University)
    Abstract: This paper aims to examine potential of digital economy in Thailand and review key policies in four prospects, including industrial transformation, investment policy, digital plans, and digital rules and regulations and international cooperation. The research shows that the digital economy in Thailand grew substantially and faster than GDP growth in 2017-2020. Investment has gained momentum in driving the digital economy in Thailand since 2021. Digital infrastructure has been improved in the country over the past decade, but comparing to other countries in Asia, like China, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in some respects, infrastructure development and accessibility of population in the country are still lacked behind, particularly in terms of ICT skills and prices. Various rules and regulations were amended and introduced to support digital development in the country. Such establishments together with some programs have implications in improving Political-Security and Socio-Cultural, in addition to Economic pillars. Various international cooperation concerning digital provisions has been initiated but based on the Regional Digital Trade Integration Index (RDTII), Thailand’s digital trade integration lacks behind other Asian countries, mainly due to restricted rules and regulations especially those connecting to telecommunication policy and competition, internet intermediary liability and content access.
    Keywords: Digital Economy, Policy Analysis, Thailand, Developing Asian Countries
    JEL: L60 L86 O53
    Date: 2024–01
  6. By: Berliant, Marcus
    Abstract: We examine the fine microstructure of commuting in a game-theoretic setting with a continuum of commuters. Commuters' home and work locations can be heterogeneous. A commuter transport network is exogenous. Traffic speed is determined by link capacity and by local congestion at a time and place along a link, where local congestion at a time and place is endogenous. The model can be reinterpreted to apply to congestion on the internet. We find sufficient conditions for existence of equilibrium, that multiple equilibria are ubiquitous, and that the welfare properties of morning and evening commute equilibria differ on a generalization of a directed tree.
    Keywords: Commuting; Internet traffic; Congestion externality; Efficient Nash equilibrium
    JEL: L86 R41
    Date: 2023–12–27

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