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Diffusion of the internet : a cross-country analysis

  • Andres, Luis
  • Cuberes, David
  • Diouf, Mame Astou
  • Serebrisky, Tomas

This paper analyzes the process of Internet diffusion across the world using a panel of 199 countries during 1990-2004. The authors group countries in two categories-low and high-income countries-and show that the Internet diffusion process is well characterized by an S-shape curve for both groups. Low-income countries display a steeper diffusion curve that is equivalent to a right shift of the diffusion curve for high-income countries. The estimated diffusion curves provide evidence of a"catching-up"process, although a very slow one. The paper explores the determinants of Internet diffusion at the country level and across the same income groups. The most novel finding is that network effects seem to be crucial-the number of Internet users in a country in a given year is positively associated with the number of users in the previous year. The findings also show that the degree of competition in the provision of Internet service contributes positively to its diffusion, and there are significant positive language externalities.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4420.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4420
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  1. Chinn, Menzie David & Fairlie, Robert W, 2004. "The Determinants of the Global Digital Divide: A Cross-Country Analysis of Computer and Internet Penetration," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2r80c4t3, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  2. Dasgupta, Susmita & Lall, Somik & Wheeler, David, 2001. "Policy reform, economic growth, and the digital divide - an econometric analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2567, The World Bank.
  3. Barro, Robert J. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1995. "Technological Diffusion, Convergence and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1255, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman, 2001. "Cross-Country Technology Diffusion: The Case of Computers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 328-335, May.
  5. Wallsten, Scott, 2005. "Regulation and Internet Use in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 501-23, January.
  6. Gort, Michael & Klepper, Steven, 1982. "Time Paths in the Diffusion of Product Innovations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 630-53, September.
  7. Wolfgang Keller, 2004. "International Technology Diffusion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 752-782, September.
  8. Lars-Hendrik Roller & Leonard Waverman, 2001. "Telecommunications Infrastructure and Economic Development: A Simultaneous Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 909-923, September.
  9. Alejandro Micco & Alberto E. Chong, 2002. "The Internet and the Ability to Innovate in Latin America," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6495, Inter-American Development Bank.
  10. Comin, D. & Hobijn, B., 2004. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 39-83, January.
  11. Antonio Estache & Marco Manacorda & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2002. "Telecommunications Reform, Access Regulation, and Internet Adoption in Latin America," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  12. Blanca Sanchez-Robles, 1998. "Infrastructure Investment And Growth: Some Empirical Evidence," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(1), pages 98-108, 01.
  13. Austan Goolsbee & Peter J. Klenow, 1999. "Evidence on Learning and Network Externalities in the Diffusion of Home Computers," NBER Working Papers 7329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Oecd, 2001. "Understanding the Digital Divide," OECD Digital Economy Papers 49, OECD Publishing.
  15. J. Bradford De Long, . "Productivity Growth, Convergence, and Welfare: Comment," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _129, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
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