The Cost Impact of Spam Filters: Measuring the Effect of Information System Technologies in Organizations

38 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2008

See all articles by Marco Caliendo

Marco Caliendo

University of Potsdam; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Michel Clement

University of Hamburg

Dominik Papies

University of Tuebingen - Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences

Sabine Scheel-Kopeinig

University of Cologne

Abstract

More than 70% of global e-mail traffic consists of unsolicited and commercial direct marketing, also known as spam. Dealing with spam incurs high costs for organizations, prompting efforts to try to reduce spam-related costs by installing spam filters. Using modern econometric methods to reduce the selection bias of installing a spam filter, we deploy a unique data setting implemented at a German university to measure the costs associated with spam and the costs savings of spam filters. The applied methodological framework can easily be transferred to estimate the effect of other IS technologies (e.g., SAP) implemented in organizations. Our findings indicate that central IT costs are of little relevance since the majority of spam costs stem from employees who spend working time identifying and deleting spam. The working time losses caused by spam are approximately 1,200 minutes per employee per year; these costs could be reduced by roughly 35% through the installation of a spam filter mechanism. The individual efficiency of a spam filter installation depends on the amount of spam that is received and on the level of knowledge about spam.

Keywords: propensity score matching, treatment effects, spam filter, spam

JEL Classification: M12, M15

Suggested Citation

Caliendo, Marco and Clement, Michel and Papies, Dominik and Scheel-Kopeinig, Sabine, The Cost Impact of Spam Filters: Measuring the Effect of Information System Technologies in Organizations. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3755. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1286693 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Marco Caliendo (Contact Author)

University of Potsdam ( email )

August-Bebel Strasse 89
Potsdam, 14482
Germany
+49(0)331/9773225 (Phone)
+49(0)331/9773210 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-potsdam.de/en/empwifo/news.html

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Michel Clement

University of Hamburg

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Dominik Papies

University of Tuebingen - Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

Mohlstrasse 36
Tuebingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg 72074
Germany

Sabine Scheel-Kopeinig

University of Cologne ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

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