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Understanding the Non-Metropolitan-Metropolitan Digital Divide

  • Bradford F. Mills
  • Brian E. Whitacre

Abstract A consistent gap exists between home Internet use in metropolitan areas and in non-metropolitan areas in the U.S. This digital divide may stem from technology differences in home Internet connectivity. Alternatively, differences in education, income, and other household attributes may explain differences in metropolitan and non-metropolitan area home Internet access. Effective programs to reduce the metropolitan-non-metropolitan digital divide must be based on an understanding of the relative roles that technology and household characteristics play in determining differential Internet usage. The household Internet adoption decision is modeled using a logit estimation approach with data from the 2001 U.S. Current Population Survey Internet and Computer Use Supplement. A decomposition of separate metropolitan and non-metropolitan area estimates shows that differences in household attributes, particularly education and income, account for 63 percent of the current metropolitan-non-metropolitan digital divide. The result raises significant doubts that policies which focus solely on infrastructure and technology access will mitigate the current metropolitan-non-metropolitan digital divide. Copyright 2003 Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky..

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Growth and Change.

Volume (Year): 34 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 219-243

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Handle: RePEc:bla:growch:v:34:y:2003:i:2:p:219-243
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