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Determinants of Inter-Country Internet Diffusion Rates


  • Wunnava, Phanindra V.

    () (Middlebury College)

  • Leiter, Daniel B.

    () (Morgan Stanley)


This paper employs cross-sectional data from 100 countries to analyze the main determinants of inter-country Internet diffusion rates. We set up an empirical model based on strong theoretical foundations, in which we regress Internet usage on variables that capture social, economic and political differences between these countries. Our results support past findings that economic strength, infrastructure and knowledge of the English language positively affect Internet connectivity. In addition to these indicators, the openness of a country, tertiary enrollment, and income equality are found to also have a significant positive effect on Internet diffusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Wunnava, Phanindra V. & Leiter, Daniel B., 2008. "Determinants of Inter-Country Internet Diffusion Rates," IZA Discussion Papers 3666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3666

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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.
    2. Khurram Jamali & Kirsten Wandschneider & Phanindra Wunnava, 2007. "The effect of political regimes and technology on economic growth," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(11), pages 1425-1432.
    3. 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.
    4. Guillén, Mauro F. & Suárez, Sandra L., 2001. "Developing the Internet: entrepreneurship and public policy in Ireland, Singapore, Argentina, and Spain," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 349-371, June.
    5. Edward M. Crenshaw & Kristopher K. Robison, 2006. "Globalization and the Digital Divide: The Roles of Structural Conduciveness and Global Connection in Internet Diffusion," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(1), pages 190-207.
    6. Meijers, Huub, 2006. "Diffusion of the Internet and low inflation in the information economy," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-23, March.
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    More about this item


    inequality; technological diffusion; internet; education; English proficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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