ICT and Innovation: Editorial

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  • that the output elasticity of ICT has risen constantly over

    that in countries with more investment in two specictechnologies, mobile telephony and internet infrastruc-ture, end up driving a country to be closer to the globaltechnological frontier. This seems intuitive at rst, but car-ries some quite important implications it suggests that,similar to the GPT hypothesis, ICT drive the innovation or

    In the third and nal set of papers, the effect of new

    broadband use will not make a rm more productive, onlyadvanced services. This is mirrored by Bertschek et al. in adifferent setting two waves of German rms over 3 years.Using an instrumental variables approach, they nd thatwhile labor productivity is not affected by increasedbroadband use, innovation activity is higher with in-

    0167-6245/$ - see front matter 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

    Information Economics and Policy 25 (2013) 107108

    Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect


    w.ehttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infoecopol.2013.07.004time and has now reached levels consistent with ICT beinga General Purpose Technology (GPT). That is, ICT diffusewidely in the economy and end up being widely used be-cause they trigger further innovations in other, non-ICTproducing sectors. Similarly, Baquero nds in her study

    technologies on rm performance is empirically analyzed.Colombo et al. study a 6-year panel of Italian SMEs andnd that rm productivity is only affected by increaseduse of complementary broadband applications if the appli-cations are sufciently advanced. In other words, basicEditorial

    ICT and Innovation: Editorial

    Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)and innovation are closely interlinked. New technologiescan help economies, industries and rms grow and suc-ceed, and the large number of government initiatives tofoster the spread of ICT is testament to the expectation thatICT has a broad societal impact that may even go beyondthe economic effects. The collection of papers in this Spe-cial Issue on ICT and Innovation aims to give an insight intothe state-of-the-art of research on ICT and its impact oninnovation, broadly dened. The selected papers someof them presented at the 2nd Scientic Seminar on Com-munications & Media Markets: Emerging Trends and PolicyIssues held at the Florence School of Regulation EuropeanUniversity Institute (Florence, May, 2012) give a broadoverview of the potential effects, both in terms of theinformation and communication technologies under con-sideration from ICT in general over mobile telephonyand broadband infrastructure to specic technologies likesocial enterprise software and the outcome variables,which include macroeconomic indicators, infrastructuredeployment and rm-level performance. What unites thepapers including the theoretical paper by Ganuza andViecens is the focus on issues currently discussed in pol-icy and academic circles and using state-of-the-art meth-ods and data to address them.

    The rst set of articles, Cardona, Kretschmer and Stro-bels survey and Baqueros study of mobile and internetinfrastructure as drivers of technical efciency, look atthe country level and nd that ICT can indeed be a driverof innovation. The way they arrive at this conclusion unan-imously is different for the two papers. Cardona et al. nd

    Information Eco

    journal homepage: wwimitation of worldwide best practices in a country, sug-gesting that bridging the digital divide can have an effecton a country closing the technological divide to leading na-tions. In sum, while the two papers take different ap-proaches, both come to similar conclusions.

    The second set of articles deals with a recent episode inthe nationwide deployment of an information and commu-nication technology, the investment into next-generationnetworks (NGN). Briglauer et al. empirically tease out theinvestment drivers for NGN and nd, interestingly, thatthe often government-imposed competition among differ-ent service providers, through granting access to existinginfrastructure at cost-based regulated charges, reducesthe investment incentives into NGN and eventually slowsdown NGN deployment. This is interesting as infrastruc-ture and content can be considered complements and theexpected effect of increased expected protability of thebase good (access to high-speed broadband network) withincreased availability of complementary services (i.e. con-tent) does not materialize. Ganuza and Viecens providesome theoretical considerations on the same topic. Theynd that exclusivity of content providers has an importantimpact on the investment incentives into NGN. The theo-retical model uncovers an important distinction betweenindustry protability and the prots of one side of the mar-ket, namely the transfer of rents from suppliers of NGNinfrastructure to content providers. The two papers arehighly complementary in their approaches and the focusand the empirical results can be understood from the per-spective of the model to gain a feeling of the likely motivesof the market participants.

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  • creased broadband access. The convergent nding thatbroadband as such does not render rms more productivesuggests that the strong positive growth effects from therst two papers of the IEP Special Issue are likely to origi-nate from cross-rm effects and/or innovations made pos-sible by ICT. One of those is the commercial use of socialenterprise software, the topic of the last paper in the Spe-cial Issue. Here, Engelsttter and Sirbu indeed nd that so-cial enterprise software, one of the innovations madepossible by broadband and increased connectivity amongparts of the rm, is found to increase rm performanceand productivity. Hence, the three papers tell a coherentstory: broadband internet is a necessary, but not sufcientcondition for the positive impact on innovation and conse-quently economic well-being.

    To summarize the three streams of the Special Issue, ICTcan have an important impact on innovation, but the ef-fects may be difcult to detect: to treat ICT as a single tech-nology is misleading as the effects are intricate and it ismainly the more demanding applications and the use offast ICT infrastructure that leads to the positive growth ef-fects we have come to expect from new, pervasive technol-ogies. In the second part of the Special Issue, the two papers

    show that the conditions for (government) investment intoICT have to be considered in detail including the marketstructure in the content industry, which has an importanteffect on the incentives to invest in the basic infrastruc-ture. Taken together, the papers also give an indication ofthe state-of-the-art of economic research on ICT and inno-vation. While a lot has already been established by thepapers in this issue, it would seem that the biggest benetof future work could come from looking into the returns toICT that spill over to neighbouring actors and pin downtheir precise sources and effects. We hope that this SpecialIssuewill provide future researchers with a fruitful startingpoint from which to launch their efforts.

    Carlo CambiniPolitecnico di Torino and Florence School of Regulation EUI,


    Michael R. WardUniversity of Texas at Arlington, USA

    Tobias KretschmerLMU Munich and ifo Institute, Munich, Germany

    108 Editorial / Information Economics and Policy 25 (2013) 107108

    ICT and Innovation: Editorial