Business and Economics > Industries: Information Technololgy

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Brent Moulton, James Tebrake, and Martha Tovar
The pervasive impact of digitalization on the economy and the lack of an agreed definition makes it challenging to obtain estimates of the digital economy. Nowadays, some countries have estimated the value of the digital economy by identifying digital products or industries as defined in the international classifications. This study presents the estimates of digital industries for five countries that participated in an experimental exercise, applying a simplified standard approach recommended by the international agencies as part of the national accounts framework and using publicly available and limited secondary information. The results show that the structure and evolution of digital industries vary across countries and over time and that the estimates depend significantly on the underlying data sources. The conclusions of this exercise reveal the need to upgrade the data sources to better identify the impact of digitalization and contribute to policy-making on the economic benefits of digitalization.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Anh Thi Ngoc Nguyen, Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang, Thuy Dinh Pham, Nga Huong Phi, Duong Thuy Nguyen, and Tuan Danh Duong
Using a unique representative panel survey of Vietnamese enterprises in 2020, we find that the pandemic and associated government support package had a heterogenous impact across firms. The government support package, particularly tax cuts and deferrals, helped alleviate short term stress, but tight ineligibility criteria and cumbersome procedures impacted take-up. Econometric analysis suggests that the likelihood of accessing support was associated with firm size, with larger firms more likely to receive support compared to smaller firms, even after controlling for sector, firm ownership and financial health. Credit support was effective in alleviating liquidity constraints and allaying firm pessimism only for large firms. Interestingly, firms experiencing sales losses and those with lower pre-crisis productivity were more likely to resort to digitalization, suggesting that the pandemic could help narrow productivity gaps.
Amr Hosny and Alexandre Sollaci
The COVID-19 shock has underscored the importance of digital tools for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of social protection systems. Cross-country evidence suggests that digital IDs linked with bank and/or mobile money accounts can improve the delivery of social protection programs and better reach eligible beneficiaries. Using data from the Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey, we present micro simulations on the welfare gains of digital social protection during the pandemic. While digitalization offers opportunities, potential risks would need to be carefully managed. Vietnam is advancing on individual pieces of the digitalization puzzle, including full digital IDs and mobile money, and the next step is to put these pieces together.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Pre-COVID-19, economic policies under “Abenomics” helped ease financial conditions, exit deflation, and raise labor market participation, but fell short on the deep reforms needed to raise productivity and achieve inclusive and sustainable growth. The Japanese economy is now recovering from the pandemic amid strong policy support that has helped to mitigate the downturn. Japan had substantially lower rates of COVID-related infections and deaths than most advanced economies.
Parma Bains, Nobuyasu Sugimoto, and Christopher Wilson
BigTech firms are gradually entering the financial sector and becoming important service providers, particularly in emerging markets. BigTechs have entered financial services using platform-based technology to facilitate payments and more recently expanded into other areas, such as lending, asset management, and insurance services. They accumulate data from their nonfinancial and financial activities and draw on consumer data held in different parts of their business (such as via social media). BigTechs are applying new approaches to existing financial services products and services such as underwriting using big data and are also applying machine learning for their key business decisions, such as pricing and risk management across multiple financial sectors. Incumbent financial firms have also increased their reliance on BigTech firms to host core IT systems (for example, cloud-based services, which have the potential to improve efficiency and security). This rapid and significant expansion of BigTechs in financial services and their interconnectedness with financial service firms are potentially creating new channels of systemic risks. To achieve effective implementation and multiple objectives of financial regulation and supervision, a hybrid approach, combining a mix of entity- and activity-based approaches, is needed.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Ruud de Mooij, Andrew Hodge, Jan Loeprick, Dinar Prihardini, Ms. Alpa Shah, Sebastian Beer, Sonja Davidovic, Arbind M Modi, and Fan Qi
Digitalization in Asia is pervasive, unique, and growing. It stands out by its sheer scale, with internet users far exceeding numbers in other regions. This facilitates e-commerce in markets that are large by international standards, supported by innovative payment systems and featuring major corporate players, including a number of large, home-grown, highly digitalized businesses (tech giants) that rival US multinational enterprises (MNEs) in size. Opportunity for future growth exists, as a significant population share remains unconnected.
Miss Estelle X Liu
The latest advancement in financial technology has posed unprecedented challenges for incumbent banks. This paper analyzes the implications of these challenges on bank competitveness, and explores the factors that could support digital advancement in banks. The analysis shows that the traditionally leading role of banks in advancing financial technology has diminished in recent years, and suggests that onoing efforts to catch up to the digital frontier could lead to a more concentrated banking industry, as smaller and less tech-savvy banks struggle to survive. Cross-country evidence has suggested that banks in high-income economies appear to have been the digital leaders, likely benefiting from a sound digital infrastructure, a strong legal and business environment, and healthy competition. Nonetheless, some digital leaders may fall behind in the coming years in adopting newer technologies due to entrenched consumer behavior favoring older technologies, less active fintech and bigtech companies, and weak bank balance sheets.
Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, Mr. Richard Varghese, Vizhdan Boranova, Alice deChalendar, and Judith Wallenstein
We exploit a survey data set that contains information on how 11,000 workers across advanced and emerging market economies perceive the main forces shaping the future of work. In general, workers feel more positive than negative about automation, especially in emerging markets. We find that negative perceptions about automation are prevalent among workers who are older, poorer, more exposed to job volatility, and from countries with higher levels of robot penetration. Perceptions over automation are positively viewed by workers with higher levels of job satisfaction, higher educational attainment, and from countries with stronger labor protection. Workers with positive perceptions of automation also tend to respond that re-education and retraining will be needed to adapt to rapidly evolving skill demands. These workers expect governments to have a role in shaping the future of work through protection of labor and new forms of social benefits. The demand for protection and benefits is more significant among women and workers that have suffered job volatility.