An index for cross-country analysis of ICT infrastructure and access
The purpose of the present article is to devise an index for measuring and analyzing the divide among countries in the area of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and access. Understanding the fact that there are many factors influencing the digital divide, this research is not intended to measure the digital divide in terms of different inequalities, but it rather attempts to take only one of the most important of these factors (maybe the most important of them) into consideration for measuring and analyzing divide between countries, that is, ICT infrastructure and access. In contrast to the majority of the indices in this context, the proposed index is built upon defining and conceptualizing ICT infrastructure and access. In addition, the index uses core ICT indicators on which the international community and experienced modelers have consensus that they measure the information society suitably. Therefore, the index can be exploited as the basis and standard for internationally comparable statistics in ICT infrastructure and access area. Moreover, it is the second index based on core ICT indicators after the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) that was developed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2005. However, in the current article, using Data Mining methods, Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) (to impute missing data) and Multi-Stage Factor Analysis (FA) (for aggregating the indicators), many problems and limits of the existing indices, the DOI in particular, such as the lack of data for analyzing ICT infrastructure and access, use of equal weighting or experts' opinions to aggregate the indicators, are avoided. Since this index is developed by statistical procedures, it is flexible, adaptable, and modifiable over time while it sustains its original structure. It is comprised of two main dimensions: 'ICT access' and 'coverage of mobile and access tariffs' and 10 indicators. Finally, comparing the proposed index with the other indices in this field and gross national income (GNI) per capita of 150 countries, this index is tested; then, it is utilized to measure and analyze the divide between countries in the two dimensions, different geographical areas, economic conditions, and levels of ICT infrastructure and access.
Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7 (August)
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