Side Effects of Economic Crises in Europe and Provision of Online Public Goods

Research Team:

  • Olga Slivko, PhD, ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research Mannheim, Department of Information and Communication Technologies
  • Michael Kummer, PhD, ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research Mannheim, Department of Information and Communication Technologies
  • Marit Hinnosaar, PhD, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Moncalieri, Italy
  • Toomas Hinnosaar, PhD, Collegio Carlo Alberto, Moncalieri, Italy
  • Michael Zhang, Associate Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China
  • Peter Gloor, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA

Project Description:

This project analyses the interaction between the recent economic crises in Europe and the incentives for private provision of online public goods. Focusing on Wikipedia, one of the most salient examples of an online public good, we address the impact of the European economic crises on the private incentives for public goods provision. This project provides a threefold contribution: First, we investigate the impact of unemployment caused by the crises on the dynamics of content generation in Wikipedia. Second, we address the innovative potential of Wikipedia by estimating the impact of crises on the dissemination of information about new technologies across Wikipedias in different languages. Third, using exogenous variation in the content of articles (e.g. sudden improvements of articles that are unrelated to the general industry dynamics), we estimate the impact of Wikipedia on local economies. The project will draw attention to the importance of the neglected side effects of unemployment on public goods provision and online time use.

Project duration: April 2014 - September 2015