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Gender differences in information technology usage: a U.S.-Japan comparison

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  • Hiroshi Ono
  • Madeline Zavodny

Abstract

This study examines whether there are differences in men’s and women’s use of computers and the Internet in the United States and Japan and how any such gender gaps have changed over time. The authors focus on these two countries because information technology is widely used in both, but there are substantial differences in institutions and social organizations. They use microdata from several surveys during the 1997–2001 period to examine differences and trends in computer and Internet usage in the two countries. Their results indicate that there were significant gender differences in computer and Internet usage in both countries during the mid-1990s. By 2001, these gender differences had disappeared or were even reversed in the United States but remained in Japan. People not currently working have lower levels of IT use and skills in both countries regardless of gender, but working women in Japan have lower levels of IT use and skills than working men, a difference that generally does not occur in the United States. This finding suggests that employment status per se does not play a large role in the gender gap in Japan, but type of employment does. The prevalence of nonstandard employment among female workers in Japan accounts for much of the gender gap in IT use and skills in that country.

Suggested Citation

  • Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "Gender differences in information technology usage: a U.S.-Japan comparison," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2004-2
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    File URL: http://www.frbatlanta.org/filelegacydocs/wp0402.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan Krueger, 2000. "The Digital Divide in Educating African-American Students and Workers," Working Papers 813, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Haisken-DeNew, John P. & D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2003. "ICT and Socio-Economic Exclusion," RWI Discussion Papers 3, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
    3. Edwards, Linda N., 1994. "The status of women in Japan: Has the equal employment opportunity law made a difference?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 217-240.
    4. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1996. "With What Skills Are Computers a Complement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 258-262, May.
    5. Houseman, Susan N & Abraham, Katharine G, 1993. "Female Workers as a Buffer in the Japanese Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 45-51, May.
    6. Ono, Hiroshi, 2004. "Are sons and daughters substitutable?: Allocation of family resources in contemporary Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 143-160, June.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:zbw:rwidps:0003 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Hiroshi Ono & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Gender and the Internet," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(1), pages 111-121.
    10. Alan B. Krueger, 2000. "The Digital Divide in Educating African-American Students and Workers," Working Papers 813, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Kevin T. Reilly, 1995. "Human Capital and Information: The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 1-18.
    12. Bruce A. Weinberg, 2000. "Computer Use and the Demand for Female Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 290-308, January.
    13. Hiroshi Ono & Marcus Rebick, 2003. "Constraints on the Level and Efficient Use of Labor," NBER Chapters,in: Structural Impediments to Growth in Japan, pages 225-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    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.
    2. Menzie D. Chinn & Robert W. Fairlie, 2010. "ICT Use in the Developing World: An Analysis of Differences in Computer and Internet Penetration," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 153-167, February.
    3. Maria Rosalia Vicente & Ana Jesus Lopez, 2008. "Some empirical evidence on Internet diffusion in the New Member States and Candidate Countries of the European Union," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(13), pages 1015-1018.

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