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ICT Use in the Developing World: An Analysis of Differences in Computer and Internet Penetration

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  • Chinn, Menzie D.

    () (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Fairlie, Robert W.

    () (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

Computer and Internet use, especially in developing countries, has expanded rapidly in recent years. Even in light of this expansion in technology adoption rates, penetration rates differ markedly between developed and developing countries and across developing countries. To identify the determinants of cross-country disparities in personal computer and Internet penetration, both currently and over time, we examine panel data for 161 countries over the 1999-2004 period. We explore the role of a comprehensive set of economic, demographic, infrastructure, institutional and financial factors in contributing to the global digital divide. We find evidence indicating that income, human capital, the youth dependency ratio, telephone density, legal quality and banking sector development are associated with technology penetration rates. Overall, the factors associated with computer and Internet penetration do not differ substantially between developed and developing countries. Estimates from Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions reveal that the main factors responsible for low rates of technology penetration rates in developing countries are disparities in income, telephone density, legal quality and human capital. In terms of dynamics, our results indicate fairly rapid reversion to long run equilibrium for Internet use, and somewhat slower reversion for computer use, particularly in developed economies. Financial development, either measured as bank lending or the value of stocks traded, is also important to the growth rate of Internet use.

Suggested Citation

  • Chinn, Menzie D. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2006. "ICT Use in the Developing World: An Analysis of Differences in Computer and Internet Penetration," IZA Discussion Papers 2206, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2206
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    Cited by:

    1. Grazzi, Matteo & Vergara, Sebastián, 2012. "ICT in developing countries: Are language barriers relevant? Evidence from Paraguay," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 161-171.
    2. Corrado Benassi & Marcella Scrimitore, 2017. "Income Distribution in Network Markets," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 251-271, September.
    3. Rath, Badri Narayan, 2016. "Does the digital divide across countries lead to convergence? New international evidence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 75-82.
    4. Frederico Cruz-Jesus & Tiago Oliveira & Fernando Bacao & Zahir Irani, 0. "Assessing the pattern between economic and digital development of countries," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-20.
    5. David E. Bloom & Dara Lee Luca, 2016. "The Global Demography of Aging: Facts, Explanations, Future," PGDA Working Papers 13016, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    6. Ganuza, Juan José & Viecens, María Fernanda, 2011. "Deployment of high-speed broadband infrastructures during the economic crisis. The case of Xarxa Oberta," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 857-870.
    7. Bloom, David E. & Luca, Dara Lee, 2016. "The Global Demography of Aging: Facts, Explanations, Future," IZA Discussion Papers 10163, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Lüdering, Jochen, 2014. "The measurement of internet availability and quality in the context of the discussion on digital divide," Discussion Papers 65, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Center for international Development and Environmental Research (ZEU).
    9. Ewa Lechman & Harleen Kaur, 2016. "Social Development And Ict Adoption. Developing World Perspective," GUT FME Working Paper Series A 33, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology.
    10. George Bulman & Robert W. Fairlie, 2015. "Technology and Education: Computers, Software, and the Internet," CESifo Working Paper Series 5570, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. repec:spr:infosf:v:19:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10796-016-9634-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Yusuf, Shahid & Nabeshima, Kaoru & Wei Ha, 2007. "What makes cities healthy ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4107, The World Bank.
    13. Galperin, Hernán & Ruzzier, Christian A., 2013. "Price elasticity of demand for broadband: Evidence from Latin America and the Caribbean," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 429-438.
    14. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Andy Titus Okwu, 2016. "ICT and Stock Market Nexus in Africa: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa," Acta Universitatis Danubius. OEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 12(4), pages 38-50, August.
    16. Zagorchev, Andrey & Vasconcellos, Geraldo & Bae, Youngsoo, 2011. "Financial development, technology, growth and performance: Evidence from the accession to the EU," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 743-759.
    17. Margarita Billon & Fernando Lera-Lopez & Rocio Marco, 2016. "ICT use by households and firms in the EU: links and determinants from a multivariate perspective," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(4), pages 629-654, November.
    18. repec:eee:touman:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:327-339 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    technology; development; digital divide; Internet; computers;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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