Let it Flow: Information Exchange in Video Conferences versus Face-to-Face Meetings
48 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2020 Last revised: 15 Jul 2021
Date Written: April 30, 2020
Virtual communication has become ever-more important since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, existing evidence on whether video conferences (VCs) are a viable alternative for face-to-face meetings has been mixed, with little attention dedicated to the influence on information flow. Our lab experiment contrasts VCs with face-to-face meetings in order to evaluate information flow in a controlled environment. The findings suggest that although the flow of information itself seems unaffected by the medium, subjective perceptions do differ: face-to-face communications yield a stronger feeling of sharing information. Furthermore, we find some differences between age cohorts, suggesting some heterogeneity of the effects. Our results are relevant for policymakers in the time of Covid-19 as they evaluate the costs of using video conferences in contexts such as board meetings, telemedicine, and microfinance.
Keywords: face-to-face, video conference, virtual teams, social distancing, COVID-19, communication, information flow
JEL Classification: D02, D23, D83, K20, O39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation