Effects of the digitization of communication on collaboration and competition

About the Project

Digital technologies have become ubiquitous. Many sorts of interactions (including economic, organizational, and personal) have shifted to the digital space. On top of this, advances in artificial intelligence and novel data processing practices have created the foundation for automating myriad of processes, including ones associated with governance. Yet, little is known on effects these new technologies have on socio-economic outcomes.

DigiCom project intends to fill this void by studying the effects of digital communication on cooperation and competition. The research will use laboratory experiments. Financially motivated human subjects will be put in carefully designed environments in order to discern the effect of digital technologies on economic outcomes. Two studies will analyze collaboration and competition separately. The second study will push further, past the "communication" aspect of the project, by considering the laboratory treatment where human arbitrator is completely eliminated from the conflict situations and is replaced by an algorithm. Contrasting the outcome of this treatment with the ones with human arbitrator will generate insight into human reaction to automated/digital governance issues when they are personally concerned.

DigiCom is trans-disciplinary in nature, as it aims at applying the concepts developed in communication studies, information systems and cyberpsychology to questions relevant to management and law by the usage of research methodology (internally-consistent laboratory experiments with materially motivated human subjects) developed by the economists. Previous research has aimed at exploring very narrow applications, such as public speaking (Mol et al. 2011) and poker playing (MacKay et al. 2014). In contrast we will take a broader approach in exploring the mechanisms underlying the efficiency of communication channels for wide range of societal and economic applications.

Expected Outcomes

DigiCom constitutes a seed project to lay foundations to a deeper collaboration between UCA institutions around the effects of digitization on social and economic outcomes. The main, tangible, expected outcome of this particular project will be (at least) two articles in highly regarded peer-reviewed scientific journals in economics, management and/or communication studies fields. More importantly, by actively diffusing the ongoing research within UCA community the project aims at recruiting further collaborators from other disciplines (e.g. Law; computer science) in order to further advance this vital research agenda.

Principal Investigator
Project's partner(s)
  • Nobuyuki HANAKI, GREDEG
March 2017 - February 2019
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