Technology and Engineering > Inventions

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Mr. Arnoud W.A. Boot, Peter Hoffmann, Mr. Luc Laeven, and Mr. Lev Ratnovski
We study the effects of technological change on financial intermediation, distinguishing between innovations in information (data collection and processing) and communication (relationships and distribution). Both follow historic trends towards an increased use of hard information and less in-person interaction, which are accelerating rapidly. We point to more recent innovations, such as the combination of data abundance and artificial intelligence, and the rise of digital platforms. We argue that in particular the rise of new communication channels can lead to the vertical and horizontal disintegration of the traditional bank business model. Specialized providers of financial services can chip away activities that do not rely on access to balance sheets, while platforms can interject themselves between banks and customers. We discuss limitations to these challenges, and the resulting policy implications.
Fumiko Hayashi, Ms. Grace B Li, and Zhu Wang
This paper examines innovation, deregulation, and firm dynamics over the life cycle of the U.S. ATM and debit card industry. In doing so, we construct a dynamic equilibrium model to study how a major product innovation (introducing the new debit card function) interacted with banking deregulation drove the industry shakeout. Calibrating the model to a novel dataset on ATM network entry, exit, size, and product offerings shows that our theory fits the quantitative pattern of the industry well. The model also allows us to conduct counterfactual analyses to evaluate the respective roles that innovation and deregulation played in the industry evolution.
Mr. Rodolfo Luzio, Mr. Steven V Dunaway, and Mr. Martin D Kaufman
This paper presents a simple framework that illustrates the link between skill-based wage differentiation and human capital acquisition given skill-biased technical progress. The analysis points to the economic costs resulting from labor market and income redistribution policies that prevent the skill premium from playing its role in fostering human capital accumulation and the adoption of new technologies. The study compares key economic indicators among Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Differences in wage differen-tiation and investment in new technologies among these countries could be related to policies affecting labor markets; such practices may reflect social choices.
Mr. Ales Bulir and Ms. Zuzana Brixiova
Bureaucratically organized systems tend to be less efficient than economies in which agents are free to choose their output targets, as well as the means to meet them. This paper presents a simple model of planner-manager interactions and shows how bureaucratic economies can end up in a low-effort, low-growth equilibrium even though they may have started in high-effort , high-growth equilibrium. The empirical evidence from eight Central and Eastern European countries during 1948-49 is consistent with our model results, namely, that the growth decline was systemic in nature. The results are applicable to countries in other regions with heavy bureaucratic involvement in the economy.
Mr. Michael Sarel
This paper examines the different arguments raised by the studies that addressed the East Asian growth experience. The original arguments presented in this paper are all on the negative side, highlighting problems associated with some of the possible explanations for the East Asian miracle. The paper concentrates mainly on four dimensions of the debate about the East Asian growth experience: (i) The nature of economic growth intensive or extensive?; (ii) The role of public policy and of selective interventions; (iii) The role of high investment rates and a strong export orientation as possible engines of growth; and (iv) The importance of the initial conditions and their relevance for policy.