The evolution of the spatial digital divide: From internet adoption to internet use by french industrial firms
In this paper, we concentrate on different aspects of the « spatial digital divide » and seek to answer three questions : Are there still spatial inequalities in the adoption of these technologies ? Is there a so-called “second level” geographical divide characterized by important differences in the intensity of Internet use between firms that have adopted these tools? Do the appropriation processes and logic of diffusion of ICT adopters vary according to the type of area in which they are located (urban vs. rural areas)? To answer these questions we have constructed an original model of technological diffusion (of the type developed by Battisti and Stoneman, 2005) that merges two types of models: those that concentrate on epidemic effects, and the so-called equilibrium models that model the decision to adopt new technologies as the result of an economic calculation by firms, which depends on their internal characteristics and those of their competitive, industrial and local environment. This model uses data drawn from a recent national survey (“ICT and e-commerce” 2002). One of the main results is that, for a given size and sector, although there no longer are spatial inequalities in terms of ICT adoption in France, there are still important inequalities in firms’ processes of ICT appropriation and use.
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