nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2024‒05‒06
nine papers chosen by
Marek Giebel, Universität Dortmund

  1. Adoption and diffusion of blockchain technology By Gschnaidtner, Christoph; Dehghan, Robert; Hottenrott, Hanna; Schwierzy, Julian
  2. Early Adoption of Generative AI by Global Business Leaders: Insights from an INSEAD Alumni Survey By Jason P Davis; Jian Bai Li
  3. School ICT Resources, Teachers, and Online Education: Evidence from School Closures in Japan during the COVID-19 Pandemic By Hideo Akabayashi; Shimpei Taguchi; Mirka Zvedelikova
  4. Information Technology, Gender Economic Inclusion and Environment Sustainability in Sub-Sahara Africa By Cheikh T. Ndour; Simplice A. Asongu
  5. Digital skills within the public sector: a missing link to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) By Cordella, Antonio; Gualdi, Francesco; van de Laar, Mindel
  6. Submarine cables: a vector for export sophistication in sub-Saharan Africa? By Camille da Piedade
  7. Governance, debt service, information technology and access to electricity in Africa By Simplice A. Asongu; Sara le Roux
  8. When Facebook Is the Internet: The Role of Social Media in Ethnic Conflict By Tuuli Tähtinen
  9. The Adoption of Non-Rival Inputs and Firm Scope By Xiang Jiang; Hannah Rubinton; Xian Jiang

  1. By: Gschnaidtner, Christoph; Dehghan, Robert; Hottenrott, Hanna; Schwierzy, Julian
    Abstract: A widespread approach to measuring the innovative capacity of companies, sectors, and regions is the analysis of patents and trademarks or the use of surveys. In emerging digital technologies this approach may, however, not be sufficient for mapping technology diffusion. This applies to blockchain technology which is in essence, a decentralized and distributed database (management system) that is increasingly used well beyond its originally intended purpose as the underlying infrastructure for a peer-to-peer payment system. In this article, we use an alternative method based on web-analysis and deep learning techniques that allow us to identify companies that use blockchain technology to determine its diffusion. Our analysis shows that blockchain is still a niche technology with only 0.88% of the analyzed firms using it. At the same time, certain sectors, namely ICT, banking & finance, and (management) consulting, show higher adoption rates ranging from 3.50% to 4.50%. Most blockchain companies are located at or close to one of the financial centers. Young firms whose business model is (partly) based on blockchain technology also locate themselves close to these centers. Thus, despite blockchain technology often being explicitly characterized as decentralized and distributed in nature, these adoption and strategic location decisions lead to "blockchain clusters".
    Keywords: technology adoption, blockchain technology, geographical distribution of firms, natural language programming
    JEL: C45 O33 R30
    Date: 2024
  2. By: Jason P Davis; Jian Bai Li
    Abstract: How are new technologies like generative AI quickly adopted and used by executive and managerial leaders to create value in organizations? A survey of INSEAD's global alumni base revealed several intriguing insights into perceptions and engagements with generative AI across a broad spectrum of demographics, industries, and geographies. Notably, there's a prevailing optimism about the role of generative AI in enhancing productivity and innovation, as evidenced by the 90% of respondents being excited about its time-saving and efficiency benefits. Analysis revealed different attitudes about adoption and use across demographic variables. Younger respondents are significantly more excited about generative AI and more likely to be using it at work and in personal life than older participants. Those in Europe have a somewhat more distant view of generative AI than those in North America in Asia, in that they see the gains more likely to be captured by organizations than individuals, and are less likely to be using it in professional and personal contexts than those in North America and Asia. This may also be related to the fact that those in Europe are more likely to be working in Financial Services and less likely to be working in Information Technology industries than those in North America and Asia. Despite this, those in Europe are more likely to see AGI happening faster than those in North America, although this may reflect less interaction with generative AI in personal and professional contexts. These findings collectively underscore the complex and multifaceted perceptions of generative AI's role in society, pointing to both its promising potential and the challenges it presents.
    Date: 2024–04
  3. By: Hideo Akabayashi; Shimpei Taguchi; Mirka Zvedelikova
    Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools switched to online education. Using Japan’s nationwide administrative data, we examine the impact of schools’ ICT equipment and teachers’ IT skills on the provision of online classes, communication with students’ families, and teachers’ working hours in early 2020. To isolate supply-side effects, we exploit differences in ICT resources between public elementary and junior high schools at a municipality level, the level at which ICT resources are decided. We find that basic ICT equipment was critical to implementing online classes, but IT skills were not. However, IT skills were associated with teachers’ working hours.
    Date: 2023–03
  4. By: Cheikh T. Ndour (Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal); Simplice A. Asongu (ASPROWORDA, Cameroon)
    Abstract: Purpose – This study examines the relevance of information and communication technologies in the effect of gender economic inclusion on environmental sustainability. Design/methodology/approach – The focus is on a panel of 42 sub-Saharan African countries over the period 2005-2020. The empirical evidence is based on generalized method of moments. The environmental sustainability indicator used is CO2 emissions per capita. Two indicators of women's economic inclusion are considered: women's labour force participation and women's unemployment. The chosen ICT indicators are mobile phone penetration, internet penetration and fixed broadband subscriptions. Findings – The results show that: (i) fixed broadband subscriptions represent the most relevant ICT moderator of gender economic inclusion for an effect on CO2 emissions; (ii) negative net effects are apparent for the most part with fixed broadband subscriptions (iii) both positive ICT thresholds (i.e., critical levels for complementary policies) and negative ICT thresholds (i.e., minimum ICT levels for negative net effects) are provided; (iv) ICT synergy effects are apparent for female unemployment, but not for female employment. In general, the joint effect of ICTs or their synergies and economic inclusion should be a concern for policymakers in order to better ensure sustainable development. Moreover, the relevant ICT policy thresholds and mobile phone threshold for complementary policy are essential in promoting a green economy. Originality/value –The study complements the extant literature by assessing linkages between information technology, gender economic inclusion and environmental sustainability.
    Keywords: ICT, Gender inclusion; Environment sustainability; Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: C52 O38 O40 O55 P37
    Date: 2024–01
  5. By: Cordella, Antonio; Gualdi, Francesco; van de Laar, Mindel
    Abstract: Academic literature has mostly discussed digital skills concerning end-users’ capability to access and use single technologies. Against this background, the paper sheds light on a missing element: the digital literacy of those who frame ICT-mediated policies that pursue sustainable development. The paper offers a novel conceptualization of digital skills as the capabilities to understand the socio-technical assemblages that emerge in social contexts after the adoption of ICT-mediated policies. Exploring the case study of the United Kingdom’s Government Digital Service, the paper argues that empowering public administrators and civil servants with these digital skills is paramount to design, implement, and manage ICT-mediated policies that aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
    Keywords: digital services; digital skills; public sector; Sustainable Development Goals; AAM requested
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2024–02–20
  6. By: Camille da Piedade (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne, IFC - International Finance Corporation)
    Abstract: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) plays a very marginal role in world trade. Possible reasons for this relative marginalization include high transaction costs, a deficient infrastructure network and structural handicaps linked to unfavorable geographical factors. Despite rapid growth rates over the past two decades, sub-Saharan African countries have not followed an industrialization path that would allow them to catch up with post-independence income levels (Rodrik, 2016). However, with the recent massive deployment of submarine cable connectivity infrastructure in SSA and the resulting increase in internet penetration (Cariolle, 2021), information and communication technologies are increasingly seen as a revolutionary solution for the region.
    Abstract: L'Afrique subsaharienne (ASS) joue un rôle très marginal dans le commerce mondial. Les raisons possibles de cette marginalisation relative comprennent les coûts de transaction élevés, un réseau d'infrastructures lacunaire et des handicaps structurels liés à des facteurs géographiques défavorables. Malgré les taux de croissance rapides enregistrés au cours des deux dernières décennies, les pays d'Afrique subsaharienne n'ont pas suivi une voie d'industrialisation leur permettant de rattraper les niveaux de revenus d'après l'indépendance (Rodrik, 2016). Cependant, avec le déploiement récent et massif de l'infrastructure de connectivité par câble sous-marin en ASS et l'augmentation résultante de la pénétration d'Internet (Cariolle, 2021), les technologies de l'information et de la communication sont de plus en plus perçues comme une solution révolutionnaire pour la région.
    Keywords: Economic complexity, Connectivity infrastructures, Internet, Sub-Saharan Africa, Trade diversification, Afrique subsaharienne, Complexité économique, Diversification du commerce, Infrastructure de connectivité
    Date: 2023–11–14
  7. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Oxford, UK); Sara le Roux (Oxford, UK)
    Abstract: The study investigates the role of governance (i.e., ‘voice & accountability’, political stability/no violence, regulatory quality, government effectiveness, corruption-control and the rule of law) in the incidence of short-term debt services on infrastructure development in the perspective of telecommunication infrastructure and access to electricity. The focus of the study is on 52 African countries for the period 2002-2021. The generalized method of moments is employed as estimation strategy and the following findings are established. Debt service has a negative unconditional effect on access to electricity and telecommunication infrastructure. Governance dynamics moderate the negative effect of debt service on infrastructure dynamics. Effective moderation is from regulatory quality and corruption-control for access to electricity and from government effectiveness, regulatory quality, corruption-control and rule of law, for telecommunication infrastructure. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Debt service, governance; information technology; access to electricity; Africa
    JEL: F34 H63 O10 O40 O55
    Date: 2024–01
  8. By: Tuuli Tähtinen
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether social media access is associated with increased probability or intensity of ethnic conflict in Myanmar. In this context most people use mobile phones, and particularly the Facebook app, to access the internet. To distinguish the effects of social media from those of the broader internet, I exploit geographic variation in mobile phone coverage as a proxy for Facebook availability. Despite evidence of a hate-campaign utilizing Facebook to reach wide audiences, I do not find that social media access is associated with increased probability or intensity of conflict. The only exception to the null result is variation related to the Rohingya crisis: in this regional setting suggestive evidence points to Facebook availability being associated with slightly higher probability of conflict.
    Keywords: internet, social media, conflict, propaganda, Myanmar, Rohingya
    JEL: D74 O33
    Date: 2024
  9. By: Xiang Jiang; Hannah Rubinton; Xian Jiang
    Abstract: Custom software is distinct from other types of capital in that it is non-rival—once a firm makes an investment in custom software, it can be used simultaneously across its many establishments. Using confidential US Census data, we document that while firms with more establishments are more likely to invest in custom software, they spend less on it as a share of total capital expenditure. We explain these empirical patterns by developing a model that incorporates the non-rivalry of custom software. In the model, firms choose whether to adopt custom software, the intensity of their investment, and their scope, balancing the cost of managing multiple establishments with the increasing returns to scope from the non-rivalrous custom software investment. Using the calibrated model, we assess the extent to which the decline in the rental rate of custom software over the past 40 years can account for a number of macroeconomic trends, including increases in firm scope and concentration.
    Keywords: intangible capital, ICT, technology adoption, firm size distribution, non-rivalry
    JEL: E22 E25 D24 O14
    Date: 2024

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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