nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2024‒02‒19
nine papers chosen by
Marek Giebel, Universität Dortmund

  1. Internet and Food Production: Panel Data Evidence from North African Countries By Abdelhadi Benghalem; Samir B. Maliki; Ouieme Sour
  2. Making Broadband Universal: A Review of Philippine Policies and Strategies By Serafica, Ramonette B.; Francisco, Kris A.; Oren, Queen Cel A.
  3. Becoming a Knowledge Economy: the Case of Qatar, UAE and 17 Benchmark Countries By Osiris Parcero; James Christopher Ryan
  4. Digital divides among microenterprises: Evidence from sub‐Saharan Africa By Damien Girollet
  5. Internet as a factor of interregional migration in Russia, taking into account the level of education of migrants By Zaitsev Ilya; Klachkova Olga
  6. Dynamics of productive investment and gaps between the United States and EU countries By Hanzl-Weiss, Doris; Stehrer, Robert
  7. Techies and Firm Level Productivity By J.J. Harrigan; Ariell Reshef; Farid Toubal
  8. Mobile immobility: an exploratory study of rural women’s engagement with e-commerce livestreaming in China By Huang, Yanning; Yang, Zi; Chang, Kuan
  9. Empirical investigation of the Fintech and financial literacy nexus: small business managers' insights in Cameroon By Prince HIKOUATCHA; Alain G. TAGNE FOKA; Armand D. FOSSI; Simplice A ASONGU

  1. By: Abdelhadi Benghalem (Oran Graduate School of Economics); Samir B. Maliki (University of Tlemcen and ERF Research Fellow); Ouieme Sour (University of Tlemcen and ERF Research Associate)
    Abstract: Although a considerable body of research has examined the relationship between information and communication technology and the food production process, less attention has been paid to whether internet utilization impacts food production in North African countries. This research seeks to investigate the short- and long-run relationship between internet utilization and food production in North Africa. Yearly datasets from four countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco) are used, covering the period 1990-2021. Given that the tested series are of mixed integrated levels of I (0) and I (I), the study employs a panel autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach. The results show that internet usage and access to electricity favorably influence the food production index in both the long and short run. In the short run, food imports do not exhibit any significant effect on food production. In the long-run nexus, a considerable negative impact from food imports to food production is evident. The study concludes that internet usage represents a vital driver of food production and should be further strengthened by raising awareness of its importance in promoting food productivity among North African food producers. On the other hand, these results serve as a reminder for North African countries to establish a harmonious equilibrium between domestic food production and food imports.
    Date: 2023–12–20
  2. By: Serafica, Ramonette B.; Francisco, Kris A.; Oren, Queen Cel A.
    Abstract: Accelerating digitalization is one of the cross-cutting strategies identified in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. To ensure that the benefits of digitalization benefit everyone, widespread adoption of the internet is essential. This study provides an overview of the concepts and strategies that have been employed to increase broadband adoption. It then presents the state of broadband services in the Philippines and discusses the policies and strategies at the national and community level, including initiatives to provide relevant online services and content. The government has in place a National Broadband Plan, a a coherent set of proposed policy, regulatory, and infrastructure interventions to ensure the delivery of universal, fast, reliable, affordable broadband internet services. While significant reforms have been introduced in recent years and additional measures are planned, the implementation of government programs has been less than satisfactory. There is a need to revisit the design of Free Wi-Fi for All to ensure that the country’s flagship universal access program will fulfill its objectives, given the substantial public funding that is being allocated for internet services in public places. Moreover, with satellite technologies and service providers now available, connecting GIDAs to the internet is no longer insurmountable. To better understand the development of broadband in the Philippines, a broadband map should be developed. More comprehensive data will also help uncover digital connectivity disparities among specific sectors or groups and guide the development of more targeted solutions. Comments to this paper are welcome within 60 days from the date of posting. Email
    Keywords: broadband;internet;universal access and service
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Osiris Parcero; James Christopher Ryan
    Abstract: This paper assesses the performance of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in terms of their achievements towards becoming knowledge-based economies. This is done through a comparison against 17 benchmark countries using a four pillars' framework comprising; (1) information and communication technology, (2) education, (3) innovation and (4) economy and regime. Results indicate that the UAE ranks slightly better than the median rank of the 19 compared countries while Qatar ranks somewhat below. Results also indicate that both countries lag considerably behind knowledge economy leaders; particularly evidenced in the innovation pillar. Policy recommendations are mainly addressed at further developing the two countries' research culture as well as improving the incentives to attract top quality researchers and highly talented workers.
    Date: 2024–01
  4. By: Damien Girollet (BSE - Bordeaux Sciences Economiques - UB - Université de Bordeaux - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: AbstractThis paper investigates digital inequalities in usage within African informal sectors. In particular, we examine whether the uneven digital diffusion is embedded in pre‐existing socio‐economic inequalities. After identifying three segments of informal firms, we rely on multivariate and decomposition analyses to identify predictors of usage of digital technologies for business purposes and explain usage gaps between segments. Our findings suggest that digital inequalities are rooted in the vertical heterogeneity of informal sectors, with some firm characteristics significantly predicting professional use of digital technologies. In addition, we find that there are both common and segment‐specific levers for addressing digital inequalities between informal firms.
    Keywords: Africa, Digital divide, ICT, Digital technology, Informal sector
    Date: 2023–11–30
  5. By: Zaitsev Ilya (Department of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University); Klachkova Olga (Department of Economics, Lomonosov Moscow State University)
    Abstract: The study uses gravity models to estimate the impact of the spread of information and communication technologies (ICT) on migration flows between Russian regions. Based on data on migration by education for 2015–2019, the trend that the spread of the Internet in the regions of destination leads to an increase in the flow of migrants with higher education has been revealed. On the other hand, for migrants with a low level of education, migration decreases if the Internet becomes more accessible in the regions of destination. Thus, for migrants with higher education, the channels of information and communication mostly prevail, and for the rest a channel of better living conditions is more common.
    Keywords: interregional migration, gravity models, regions of Russia, information and communication technologies, education
    JEL: L86 R23
    Date: 2024–01
  6. By: Hanzl-Weiss, Doris; Stehrer, Robert
    Abstract: This report offers a detailed documentation and assessment of the differences in real productive investment between the United States and EU countries, focusing especially on the period 2013-2019. The analysis is based on capital stock and gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) data taken from Eurostat and the recent EU KLEMS releases, which provide comparable data for the US. The study considers various measures: investment gaps (defined as the difference in investment rates); the growth of real GFCF; and the accumulation of stocks. It documents differences in trends and in asset-type composition, as well as variations across the different EU countries. The study thus brings the existing literature up to date and adds investment dynamics to the discussion. The findings indicate the existence of a gap in productive investment in the period since the onset of the global financial crisis (caused largely by lower rates of investment, specifically in tangible information and communication technology and intangible assets) and gaps for larger EU member states. When we consider investment dynamics, we find more robust growth rates in productive investment in the EU than in the US over this period; however, again investment was lower in telecommunications equipment and software and databases. Since growth rates in the EU27 and the US have been similar since 2013, the EU27 has been unable to catch the US up in terms of capital accumulation. However, these results are sensitive to the application of asset price deflators: when US deflators are applied to the EU27, the differences are much less significant.
    Keywords: Productive investment, investment gap, investment dynamics, European Union, US
    JEL: E22
    Date: 2024
  7. By: J.J. Harrigan; Ariell Reshef (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Farid Toubal (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - ENSAI - Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information [Bruz] - X - École polytechnique - ENSAE Paris - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPII - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives et d'Informations Internationales - Centre d'analyse stratégique, CEPR - Center for Economic Policy Research - CEPR, LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: We study the impact of techies—engineers and other technically trained workers—on firm-level productivity. We first report new facts on the role of techies in the firm by using French administrative data and unique surveys. Techies are STEM-skill intensive and are associated with innovation, as well as with technology adoption, management, and diffusion within firms. Using structural econometric methods, we estimate the causal effect of techies on firm-level Hicks-neutral productivity in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries. We find that techies raise firm-level productivity, and this effect goes beyond the employment of R&D workers, extending to ICT and other techies. In non-manufacturing firms, the impact of techies on productivity operates mostly through ICT and other techies, not R&D workers. Engineers have a greater effect on productivity than technicians.
    Keywords: productivity, R&D, ICT, techies, STEM skills.
    Date: 2024–01–31
  8. By: Huang, Yanning; Yang, Zi; Chang, Kuan
    Abstract: Based on our fieldwork in Yunnan Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, this paper explores the different ways in which Chinese rural women engage with the rising industry of e-commerce livestreaming related to agricultural products and villages. Our analytical framework is informed by feminist political economy, which pays heed to the gendered social settings, operation of power, and entanglement between women’s domesticity and productivity that underpin people’s economic activities. We argue that Chinese rural women’s simultaneous empowerment and disempowerment by e-commerce livestreaming are characterized by “mobile immobility”, a term inspired by Wallis’s (2013) research on rural women’s technological empowerment by mobile phones a decade ago. On the one hand, this latest form of e-commerce has created an apparently accessible path for rural women, who tend to be geographically immobile, to achieve social mobility by becoming professional webcasters and/or vloggers. On the other hand, this enablement is in fact classed, aged, and preconditioned on in-laws’ support and willingness to share these women’s domestic duties, which are not guaranteed. The urban-oriented digital economy of e-commerce livestreaming capitalizes on rural young women’s femininity, docile bodies and labor as well as the reproductive labor performed by their family members at the microlevel, reinforcing the urban–rural disparity at the macrolevel. The paper ends with reflections on the role of information and communication technologies and e-commerce in the development of rural China.
    Keywords: Chinese rural women; E-commerce; female empowerment; livestreaming; urban–rural disparity
    JEL: L81
    Date: 2024–01–24
  9. By: Prince HIKOUATCHA (University of Dschang, Dschang, Cameroon); Alain G. TAGNE FOKA (University of Dschang, Dschang, Cameroon); Armand D. FOSSI (University of Dschang, Dschang, Cameroon); Simplice A ASONGU (Johannesburg, South Africa)
    Abstract: Recent and ongoing advancements in the field of ICT have led to the introduction of increasingly diversified financial products, and their use is improving people's level of financial knowledge and skills. This article aims at assessing the effect of Fintech on the level of financial literacy of small business’ managers in Cameroon. To this end, information was gathered using a questionnaire from 209 small business managers in Cameroon. Descriptive statistics, Principal Component Analysis (PCA), and multiple linear regression are used. Results lead to two main conclusions. On the one hand, unlike knowledge of their existence, the frequency of use of Fintech tools is better able to contribute to improving financial literacy levels overall. On the other hand, specifically, this result is more important when it comes to competence and self-confidence in managing financial affairs. As a result, increasing the utilization of financial technology instruments in companies is imperative for efficiency.
    Keywords: Financial Skill; Financial Knowledge; Financial literacy; Fintech; Small business
    JEL: G53 M2 O33
    Date: 2023–01

This nep-ict issue is ©2024 by Marek Giebel. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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