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Digital Inequality in East Asia: Evidence from Japan, South Korea, and Singapore


  • Hiroshi Ono

    (Stockholm School of Economics, European Institute of Japanese Studies, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden)


This paper examines the extent and causes of digital inequality in three countries of East Asia: Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Using individual-level microdata collected in the three countries between 1997 and 2000, the study highlights differences in the socioeconomic and demographic patterns of technology adoption, usage, and skills across countries and over time. Despite the high overall diffusion rates of information communication technology (ICT) in all three countries, there remain clear divides in access and use among various demographic groups. Household income, education, and gender are the key determinants of digital inequality in all three countries, but there is sizable variation in their magnitudes. In general, inequality in ICT access, use, and skills reflects pre-existing inequality in other socioeconomic areas. Copyright (c) 2006 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Hiroshi Ono, 2005. "Digital Inequality in East Asia: Evidence from Japan, South Korea, and Singapore," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 4(3), pages 116-139, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:4:y:2005:i:3:p:116-139

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Menzie D. Chinn & Robert W. Fairlie, 2007. "The determinants of the global digital divide: a cross-country analysis of computer and internet penetration," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 16-44, January.
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    9. Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Gender and the Internet," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(1), pages 111-121.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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