DIGITAL ECONOMIES AIDING EMERGING MARKETS?

Camila Malig Jedlicki

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One thought 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.

    Like

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