DIGITAL ECONOMIES AIDING EMERGING MARKETS?

Camila Malig Jedlicki

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5 thoughts on “DIGITAL ECONOMIES AIDING EMERGING MARKETS?

  1. Kjell Noordzij says:

    Thank you for your interesting video. You ask: can the digital economy help solve problems from the emergent market countries? The first problem in Chile is the environment, which is tackled by both government concern and Chilean citizens initiating recycling. The app also fills in the gap of public mechanisms regarding recycling. The second problem is working conditions. Here you discuss people’s own initiatives of collecting waste. Reciclapp wants to improve their working conditions. The third problem is the market. Reciclapp has entered the market and gains profit from private investors, which secures its survival. Because Reciclapp successfully operates on the environmental, labor, and market levels, you argue, it can generate changes in the emerging market scenario.

    Although I really like the topic and your analysis, my main critique is based on the way this is framed in your video. You pose a really broad question: can the digital economy help solve problems from the emergent market countries? You concluded that “[your] example shows that the digital economy could help solve structural problems of countries with emerging markets, such as the lack of an effective public mechanism of recycling in Chile”. But, I do think that you need to be aware of the fact that your analysis does not answer your research question, but answers the question: Which main problems does Chile face regarding recycling and how does Reciclapp solve these problems? When discussing “problems for emergent market countries” you actually discuss Chile’s problem of recycling. Your case study is, as you also say, one example of how the digital economy could solve problems of countries with emerging markets, but that also makes it unfit for answering your research question if you only use this case study. I therefore think you need to emphasize the specificity of your research project in your research question and conclusion.

    Associated with this problem, is that sometimes you are discussing recycling, while the point you are trying to make is one of Chile’s problems with “the environment”. Maybe it is also better to be more specific in your headings, since you analyze recycling and Chile’s problems with its recycling regulation, while “the environment” points towards an even broader problem associated with and above recycling.

    I wonder how this initiative would turn out in other contexts. For instance, in the Netherlands the collection and processing of garbage and plastic is done by public services. As you illustrate, in Chile the initiative must come from citizens. This makes that people won’t launch an app as Reciclapp in the Netherlands. But, you might look into an app that is used for other problems where a lack of regulation can be found within the Netherlands. In other contexts of developing countries or countries with emerging markets with low regulation regarding recycling, Reciclapp might indeed be useful. Therefore, I think it would strengthen your argument to analyze other contexts than Chile (which you might already intent to do for your final assignment). This would emphasize the importance of the digital economy, specifically Reciclapp, within developing countries that don’t have a lot of regulation on a certain topic, in your case recycling. Also, when highlighting a problem in the Netherlands with low regulation and how this problem is tackled by an app, you also illustrate the digital economy’s general potential.

    Also, I wonder whether people’s intrinsic motivation for recycling will change once Reciclapp, as you state it, formally transforms these people into laborers with a contract. Also, did Reciclapp start paying recyclers when it entered the market? What specifically are the recyclers’ motivations for collecting waste? Also, do some recyclers have work contract next to their voluntary recycling activities? So, do these people already have access to the benefits of health care? And if they don’t have a job, will their motivation for collecting waste change because of the involvement of extrinsic motivations as money? You can find some interesting articles of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation online, for instance regarding people’s creativity and what happens when you start paying them for this creativity (see for instance Towse’s (2011) “Handbook of Cultural Economics”). I think it would therefore be useful to emphasize who these recyclers are and what they are after in order to gain more insights in your case study and to nuance some findings.

    I have one practical comment on your video. Sometimes it is hard to follow what the mechanical voice is saying, although I do understand the point of using such a voice-over (and almost decided to do it myself). Next time, it might be better to slow it down a bit. But, your video is visually very engaging and I really like the used clips!

    Again, thank you for your video and I hope I offered some useful insights, questions, and comments.

    Best,

    Kjell

    P.S.: I like that you used the instrumental version of Virus :). Maybe Reciclapp or the digital economy is a positive virus infecting developing countries.

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  2. Camila Malig says:

    Thank you for your insightful comments, Kjell!

    I think that presenting in this video a question about general emerging markets and focusing on one example was exactly the point of the assignment. But I do understand were you are going with this, and I will make sure to state which countries I am talking about on my essay, where I have the opportunity to have a defined research question. Still, not the idea of storytelling in my opinion.

    I like very much your suggestion of exploring motivational issues from the point of view of the target population, I will make sure to check that out! As well as the case for the Netherlands, which is very interesting in my opinion, as I expected something completely different before I came to live here!

    Thanks again for taking the time to think about my topic, I know that your comments will make my essay stronger. Like a very positive virus 🙂

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  3. Joelle Boekhold says:

    Dear Camila,

    Thank you for this interesting video! I liked the problem that you used for this assignment, focusing on Chile and giving a concrete example as the app to explain the problem.
    However I do feel that your research question is quite general, and it might be better to already introduce your focus point at the beginning of the video or even in the research question. At the end you come back to the question, giving a generalizing answer about countries with emerging markets. For your paper it might be better to focus on different examples, instead of only Chile.
    Perhaps in other countries, an app like this would not work at all. Also an interesting point of view might be the cultural values that influence the use of such an app. I can imagine that in some countries people might not be willing to contribute because of cultural values.
    Another question that popped up concerns the saturation of this market. Since this app generates a lot of jobs and helps developing the economy and the market, I wondered what will happen when this market is saturated? It might be interesting for your paper to include concrete numbers of effects of this app and how they perceive their growth in the future.

    Concerning the quality of the video, I found it hard to follow at times because of the voice being used. The subtitles came in usefull, so that was a good choice concerning the intelligibility of the video.
    I am confident that your paper will become very interesting and hope that the comments helped you a bit.

    Kind regards,

    Joelle Boekhold

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  4. Payal Arora says:

    Dear Camila,
    Very interesting case study focus and context indeed. I learnt a great deal about the recycling efforts in Chile and the scope of challenges that entails this case study. I liked your use of statistics to emphasize the scale of the issue and the urgency to deal with it through these digital innovations. I agree with Joelle and Kjell however that while this is a compelling topic, the research question is too broad and thereby, hinders the audience from following the argument. Adding to the comments above, I would like to point out that the formalization of informal labor has come under fire as it does not necessarily liberate and empower these low-skilled laborers but in fact, through these regulations, can criminalize them when they do not adhere to this rules. Given the low-income involved in this process and the wave of automation that is taking place through digital technologies, I would problematize who truly benefits when this app is launched. For instance, am curious to know how these informal workers will actually benefit from smart phones to enhance their skills.

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  5. Camila Malig says:

    Dear Payal,

    Though I understand the critique by Kjell, Joelle and yourself in the context of a research project, I think there is a great difference between the argument you create for storytelling and the formal research question for an essay.

    I wish I would have understood that the video was supposed to be a brief presentation of our research project and not a narrative story, which is what I get from this feedback, but I really do not see how that is stated in the instructions for the assignment, nor in the literature about storytelling. To my understanding, storytelling is a method of qualitative narrative analyses, meant to be able to talk about a topic as a story, like a documentary, not like a written research proposal. I based my storytelling method on readings like the ones referenced below this comment.

    I am very sorry that I failed to understand this because it is actually a lot more effort to make both things (a narrative argument for a storytelling and a specific research question for an essay). I hope that my final essay will show this difference and make up for this conceptual error and misinterpretation of what a storytelling should have been. I am looking forward to your comments on it!

    Kind regards,
    Camila.

    Ref:
    Polletta, F., Chen, P. C. B., Gardner, B. G., & Motes, A. (2011). The Sociology of Storytelling. Annual Review Of Sociology, 37(1), 109-130. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-081309-150106
    Sandelowski, M. (1991). Telling stories: Narrative approaches in qualitative research. Journal of nursing scholarship, 23(3), 161-166.

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