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ICT Use in the Developing World: An Analysis of Differences in Computer and Internet Penetration

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Author Info

  • Chinn, Menzie D.

    ()
    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    ()
    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

Computer and Internet use, especially in developing countries, has expanded rapidly in recent years. Even in light of this expansion in technology adoption rates, penetration rates differ markedly between developed and developing countries and across developing countries. To identify the determinants of cross-country disparities in personal computer and Internet penetration, both currently and over time, we examine panel data for 161 countries over the 1999-2004 period. We explore the role of a comprehensive set of economic, demographic, infrastructure, institutional and financial factors in contributing to the global digital divide. We find evidence indicating that income, human capital, the youth dependency ratio, telephone density, legal quality and banking sector development are associated with technology penetration rates. Overall, the factors associated with computer and Internet penetration do not differ substantially between developed and developing countries. Estimates from Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions reveal that the main factors responsible for low rates of technology penetration rates in developing countries are disparities in income, telephone density, legal quality and human capital. In terms of dynamics, our results indicate fairly rapid reversion to long run equilibrium for Internet use, and somewhat slower reversion for computer use, particularly in developed economies. Financial development, either measured as bank lending or the value of stocks traded, is also important to the growth rate of Internet use.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2206.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2206

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Keywords: technology; development; digital divide; Internet; computers;

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  1. Menzie D. Chinn & Robert Fairlie, 2004. "The Determinants of the Global Digital Divide: A Cross-Country Analysis of Computer and Internet Penetration," NBER Working Papers 10686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chong, Alberto & Micco, Alejandro, 2003. "The Internet and the ability to innovate in Latin America," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 53-72, March.
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  7. Antonio Estache & Marco Manacorda & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2002. "Telecommunications Reform, Access Regulation, and Internet Adoption in Latin America," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  8. Dasgupta, Susmita & Lall, Somik & Wheeler, David, 2001. "Policy reform, economic growth, and the digital divide - an econometric analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2567, The World Bank.
  9. Todd Sinai & Joel Waldfogel, 2003. "Geography and the Internet: Is the Internet a Substitute or a Complement for Cities?," NBER Working Papers 10028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Quibria, M. G. & Ahmed, Shamsun N. & Tschang, Ted & Reyes-Macasaquit, Mari-Len, 2003. "Digital divide: determinants and policies with special reference to Asia," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 811-825, January.
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  16. Chinn, Menzie D. & Ito, Hiro, 2006. "What matters for financial development? Capital controls, institutions, and interactions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 163-192, October.
  17. Wallsten, Scott, 2005. "Regulation and Internet Use in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 501-23, January.
  18. Daiji Kawaguchi, 2006. "Are Computers At Home A Form Of Consumption Or An Investment? A Longitudinal Analysis For Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(1), pages 69-86.
  19. Beck, T.H.L. & Demirgüç-Kunt, A. & Levine, R., 2000. "A new database on financial development and structure," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125518, Tilburg University.
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  23. Hargittai, Eszter, 1999. "Weaving the Western Web: explaining differences in Internet connectivity among OECD countries," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(10-11), pages 701-718, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Yusuf, Shahid & Nabeshima, Kaoru & Wei Ha, 2007. "What makes cities healthy ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4107, The World Bank.
  2. Grazzi, Matteo & Vergara, Sebastián, 2012. "ICT in developing countries: Are language barriers relevant? Evidence from Paraguay," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 161-171.
  3. Corrado Benassi & Marcella Scrimitore, 2013. "Income Distribution in Network Markets," Working Paper Series 13_13, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.

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