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

Author

Listed:
  • Marco Caliendo

    (Chair of Empirical Economics, University of Potsdam and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), D-14482 Potsdam, Germany)

  • Michel Clement

    (Institute for Marketing and Media, University of Hamburg, D-20354 Hamburg, Germany)

  • Dominik Papies

    (Institute for Marketing and Media, University of Hamburg, D-20354 Hamburg, Germany)

  • Sabine Scheel-Kopeinig

    (University of Cologne, D-50923 Cologne, Germany)

Abstract

Dealing with spam is very costly, and many organizations have tried to reduce spam-related costs by installing spam filters. Relying on modern econometric methods to reduce the selection bias of installing a spam filter, we use a unique data setting implemented at a German university to measure the costs associated with spam and the costs savings of spam filters. Our methodological framework accounts for effect heterogeneity and can be easily used to estimate the effect of other IS technologies implemented in organizations. The majority of costs stem from the time that employees spend identifying and deleting spam, amounting to an average of approximately five minutes per employee per day. Our analysis, which accounts for selection bias, finds that the installation of a spam filter reduces these costs by roughly one third. Failing to account for the selection bias would lead to a result that suggests that installing a spam filter does not reduce working time losses. However, cost savings only occur when the spam burden is high, indicating that spam filters do not necessarily reduce costs and are therefore no universal remedy. The analysis further shows that spam filters alone are a countermeasure against spam that exhibits only limited effectiveness because they only reduce costs by one third.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Caliendo & Michel Clement & Dominik Papies & Sabine Scheel-Kopeinig, 2012. "Research Note ---The Cost Impact of Spam Filters: Measuring the Effect of Information System Technologies in Organizations," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 23(3-part-2), pages 1068-1080, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orisre:v:23:y:2012:i:3-part-2:p:1068-1080
    DOI: 10.1287/isre.1110.0396
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    References listed on IDEAS

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