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Digital Divide in Estonia and How To Bridge It


  • Mari Kalkun


  • Tarmo Kalvet

    (PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies)


Estonia is one of the most rapidly developing information societies in Central and Eastern Europe. Still, 61% of the Estonian adult population does not use the Internet. The analysis, carried out by the research company Emor and PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies, looked thoroughly at the reasons and motivation for not using the Internet of this particular population group. The research did not address the issue of the digital divide between countries. The research clearly shows that one third of the current non-users understand the opportunities offered by the Internet and want to take advantage of them, but are limited by a lack of skills and access. Two- thirds of the non-users (40% of the adult population) do not consciously think of the Internet as of an interesting and useful tool; more practical services and an awareness campaign are thus needed for them. The latter group depends on daily routine and already shaped-out habits – it is hard for them to accept the Internet as a new channel of information and management of public affairs. The research draws several interesting conclusions. Among them is that people believe that an Internet bank as a fully developed web-service is a trustworthy partner for managing one’s business independently. At the same time, regarding public sector e-services, people are certain that much depends on the discretion of the public servant and that therefore electronic services do not suffice. Hence, if the public sector were able to offer its services fully on the web like Internet banks, its reliability will increase and negative opinions decline. The fact that “light-users” of the Internet do not consider security on the net a problem is an acknowledgement of the successful efforts by service providers so far. Medical services were pointed out most often by the present non-users as having the potential to motivate them to start using the Internet. PRAXIS and Emor also compiled policy recommendations based on the research results, which are all listed in the final report. The research was carried out by Emor and PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies from January to July 2002. The research was commissioned and financed by the Open Estonia Foundation, the Look@World Foundation and the State Chancellery of the Republic of Estonia. It was co-financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Open Society Institute in Budapest (OSI - Budapest).

Suggested Citation

  • Mari Kalkun & Tarmo Kalvet, 2004. "Digital Divide in Estonia and How To Bridge It," Development and Comp Systems 0401004, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0401004
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on Win2000; pages: 139. Mari Kalkun and Tarmo Kalvet (Eds.) (EMOR in co-operation with PRAXIS), Digital Divide in Estonia and How To Bridge It, E-book, Tallinn: PRAXIS, 2002,

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    More about this item


    Internet; Information Technology; Digital Divide; Transition country; Rural development; Telecommunication; Estonia;

    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

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