nep-pay New Economics Papers
on Payment Systems and Financial Technology
Issue of 2016‒05‒08
seven papers chosen by
Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo
Bangor University

  1. Mobile phones based agro-advisories role in gender empowerment By Mittal, Surabhi
  2. When private information settles the bill: Money and privacy in Google's market for smartphone applications By Kummer, Michael E.; Schulte, Patrick
  3. How to Catch a Unicorn: An exploration of the universe of tech companies with high market capitalisation By Jean Paul Simon
  4. Modeling and Simulation of the Economics of Mining in the Bitcoin Market By Luisanna Cocco; Michele Marchesi
  5. Основные направления торговли криптовалютами на бирже BTC-E By Perova, Daria
  6. Peer-to-peer lending and financial innovation in the United Kingdom - Ulrich Atz and David Bholat By Atz, Ulrich; Bholat, David
  7. Image Versus Information: Changing Societal Norms and Optimal Privacy By S. Nageeb Ali; Roland Bénabou

  1. By: Mittal, Surabhi
    Abstract: Mobile phone-enabled information delivery mechanism has the potential to reduce the knowledge gap between large and small farmers, and also across gender by creating awareness. This paper focuses on how women are receptive to the information that they receive through mobile phones, how the access to information through the mobile phone has helped them to feel empowered? What kind of information they value? And what potentially it means for their empowerment? This is done by analyzing listening behavior of farmers both men and women towards information provided through mobile phones. The study is undertaken in selected villages of two states of India Haryana and Bihar and thus also present some contrasting results across the two states. Female farmers feel that the agro advisories have helped them to increase their knowledge about farming practices which includes information about modern technologies and best practices.
    Keywords: India, mobile phones, information, gender empowerment, Crop Production/Industries, Labor and Human Capital, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, Q12 and Q16,
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Kummer, Michael E.; Schulte, Patrick
    Abstract: We shed light on a money-for-privacy trade-off in the market for smartphone applications ("apps"). Developers offer their apps cheaper in return for greater access to personal information, and consumers choose between lower prices and more privacy. We provide evidence for this pattern using data on 300,000 mobile applications which were obtained from the Android Market in 2012 and 2014. We augmented these data with information from and Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our findings show that both the market's supply and the demand side consider an app's ability to collect private information, measured by their use of privacy-sensitive permissions: (1) cheaper apps use more privacy-sensitive permissions; (2) installation numbers are lower for apps with sensitive permissions; (3) circumstantial factors, such as the reputation of app developers, mitigate the strength of this relationship. Our results emerge consistently across several robustness checks, including the use of panel data analysis, the use of selected matched "twin"-pairs of apps and the use of various alternative measures of privacy-sensitiveness.
    Keywords: Privacy,Mobile Applications,Android,Permissions,Supply and Demand of Private Information
    JEL: D12 D22 L15 L86
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Jean Paul Simon
    Abstract: Technology companies with high market capitalisation (often called unicorns) have been receiving a lot of attention and media coverage recently. In general, unicorns are IT-centric (software mostly, but also hardware). They are often rather young global companies that match unsatisfied demand with supply through the production (which can easily be scaled up) of innovative and usually affordable services and products. These are usually part of the mobile internet wave, and rely on connectivity (high speed networks, mobile and fixed), new devices (smartphones, tablets, phablets…) and the opportunities these bring. They are grounded in network effects, and demand-side economies of scale and scope. They depend on a strong favourable business environment, developing organically and building on fast expanding markets (emerging economies, middle classes). They are Venture Capital-dependent and the competition for funding can generate impressive (i.e. inflated) valuations. These companies can be disruptive for other sectors and firms. This report aims to document the phenomenon by investigating a qualitative sample of 30 companies that have recently been valued above the one billion dollar threshold. It identifies some of their characteristics and the lessons to be learnt. The report has two parts: Part I contains the overall findings of the investigation and some suggestions for policy makers. Part II contains a detailed account of the case studies on which the investigation is based. They are published as separate documents
    Keywords: IT industry, technology, innovation, market capitalisation
    JEL: L00 L1 L2 L8 O3
    Date: 2016–04
  4. By: Luisanna Cocco; Michele Marchesi
    Abstract: In January 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto gave rise to the "Bitcoin Block Chain" creating the first block of the chain hashing on his computers central processing unit (CPU). Since then, the hash calculations to mine Bitcoin have been getting more and more complex, and consequently the mining hardware evolved to adapt to this increasing difficulty. Three generations of mining hardware have followed the CPU's generation. They are GPU's, FPGA's and ASIC's generations. This work presents an agent based artificial market model of the Bitcoin mining process and of the Bitcoin transactions. The goal of this work is to model the economy of the mining process, starting from GPU's generation, the first with economic significance. The model reproduces some "stylized facts" found in real time price series and some core aspects of the mining business. In particular, the computational experiments performed are able to reproduce the unit root property, the fat tail phenomenon and the volatility clustering of Bitcoin price series. In addition, under proper assumptions, they are able to reproduce the price peak at the end of November 2013, its next fall in April 2014, the generation of Bitcoins, the hashing capability, the power consumption, and the mining hardware and electrical energy expenses of the Bitcoin network.
    Date: 2016–05
  5. By: Perova, Daria
    Abstract: An article about the basic principles working exchange of cryptocurrencies of BTC-E. The author considers the distinctive features of work users at the BTC-E exchange allowing to buy and sell digital currencies. Possibilities of development and introduction of cryptocurrencies in the Russian economy are analyzed. Статья об основных принципах работы биржи криптовалют BTC-E. Автор рассматривает отличительные особенности работы пользователей на бирже BTC-E, позволяющие покупать и продавать цифровые валюты. Анализируются возможности развития и внедрения криптовалют в российскую экономику.
    Keywords: BTC-E exchange, digital currency, cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, electronic commerce,BTC-E биржа, цифровая валюта, криптовалюта, биткоинт, электронная коммерция.
    JEL: G18 G23 G28
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Atz, Ulrich (Bank of England); Bholat, David (Bank of England)
    Abstract: Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending — direct lending between lenders and borrowers online outside traditional financial intermediaries like banks — first emerged in the United Kingdom and the world with the launch of Zopa in 2005. Our paper provides a quantitative analysis of nearly 14 million loan agreements. We lay bare the history of P2P lending from its beginning, showing the regional geography of P2P lending in the United Kingdom. We suggest that the history of P2P lending can shed light on financial innovation in general. We base our conclusions on four semi-structured interviews with the founders of the three most significant UK P2P platforms (Zopa, RateSetter, and Funding Circle).
    Keywords: Peer-to-peer lending; crowdfunding; innovation; fintech; big data
    JEL: G23 L26 O30
    Date: 2016–04–29
  7. By: S. Nageeb Ali; Roland Bénabou
    Abstract: We analyze the costs and benefits of using social image to foster virtuous behavior. A Principal seeks to motivate reputation-conscious agents to supply a public good. Each agent chooses how much to contribute based on his own mix of public-spiritedness, private signal about the value of the public good, and reputational concern for appearing prosocial. By making individual behavior more visible to the community the Principal can amplify reputational payoffs, thereby reducing free-riding at low cost. Because societal preferences constantly evolve, however, she knows only imperfectly both the social value of the public good (which matters for choosing her own investment, matching rate or legal policy) and the importance attached by agents to social esteem and sanctions. Increasing publicity makes it harder for the Principal to learn from what agents do (the “descriptive norm”) what they really value (the “prescriptive norm”), thus presenting her with a tradeoff between incentives and information aggregation. We derive the optimal degree of privacy/publicity and matching rate, then analyze how they depend on the economy’s stochastic and informational structure. We show in particular that in a fast-changing society (greater variability in the fundamental or the image-motivated component of average preferences), privacy should generally be greater than in a more static one.
    JEL: D62 D64 D82 H41 K42 Z13
    Date: 2016–04

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