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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. 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.
  2. Diego Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2003. "Cross-country technology adoption: making the theories face the facts," Staff Reports 169, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Menzie D. Chinn & Robert W. Fairlie, 2004. "The Determinants of the Global Digital Divide A Cross-Country Analysis of Computer and Internet Penetration," Working Papers 881, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. 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.
  5. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1995. "Technological Diffusion, Convergence, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Antonio Estache & Marco Manacorda & Tommaso M. Valletti, 2002. "Telecommunications Reform, Access Regulation, and Internet Adoption in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Chong, Alberto & Micco, Alejandro, 2003. "The Internet and the ability to innovate in Latin America," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 53-72, March.
  11. Goolsbee, Austan & Klenow, Peter J, 2002. "Evidence on Learning and Network Externalities in the Diffusion of Home Computers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 317-43, October.
  12. Keller, Wolfgang, 2002. "International Technology Diffusion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3133, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. 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.
  14. Lars-Hendrik Röller & Leonard Waverman, 1996. "Telecommunications Infrastructure and Economic Development: A Simultaneous Approach," CIG Working Papers FS IV 96-16, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  15. Oecd, 2001. "Understanding the Digital Divide," OECD Digital Economy Papers 49, OECD Publishing.
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