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Internet adoption and usage patterns are different: Implications for the digital divide

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  • Goldfarb, Avi
  • Prince, Jeff

Abstract

There is a well-documented "digital divide" in internet connection. We ask whether a similar divide exists for internet usage. Using a survey of 18,439 Americans, we find that high-income, educated people were more likely to have adopted the internet by December 2001. However, conditional on adoption, low-income, less-educated people spend more time online. We examine four possible reasons for this pattern: (1) differences in the opportunity cost of leisure time, (2) differences in the usefulness of online activities, (3) differences in the amount of leisure time, and (4) selection. Our evidence suggests this pattern is best explained by differences in the opportunity cost of leisure time. Our results also help to determine the potential effects of internet-access subsidies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 20 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 2-15

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:20:y:2008:i:1:p:2-15

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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  1. Calfee, John & Winston, Clifford, 1998. "The value of automobile travel time: implications for congestion policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 83-102, July.
  2. Thomas Astebro, 2004. "Sunk Costs and the Depth and Probability of Technology Adoption," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 381-399, 09.
  3. Goldfarb, Avi, 2006. "The (teaching) role of universities in the diffusion of the Internet," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 203-225, March.
  4. Fairlie Robert W, 2004. "Race and the Digital Divide," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-40, September.
  5. Sarv Devaraj & Rajiv Kohli, 2003. "Performance Impacts of Information Technology: Is Actual Usage the Missing Link?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(3), pages 273-289, March.
  6. Anja Lambrecht & Katja Seim, 2006. "Adoption and Usage of Online Services in the Presence of Complementary Offline Services: Retail Banking," Working Papers 06-27, NET Institute, revised Oct 2006.
  7. Sinai, Todd & Waldfogel, Joel, 2004. "Geography and the Internet: is the Internet a substitute or a complement for cities?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-24, July.
  8. Catherine L. Mann & Sue E. Eckert, 2000. "Global Electronic Commerce: A Policy Primer," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 318.
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