Click here for search results
Policy reform, economic growth, and the digital divide - an econometric analysis, Volume 1
 
Author:Dasgupta, Susmita; Lall, Somik; Wheeler, David; Collection Title:Policy, Reform working paper ; no. WPS 2567
Date Stored:2001/05/14Document Date:2001/03/31
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperLanguage:English
Major Sector:(Historic)Private Sector DevelopmentReport Number:WPS2567
Sub Sectors:Private InfrastructureSubTopics:Knowledge Economy; Education for the Knowledge Economy; Health Monitoring & Evaluation; Health Economics & Finance; ICT Policy and Strategies
Volume No:1  

Summary: Rapid growth of Internet use in high-income economies, has raised the specter of a "digital divide" that will marginalize developing countries, because they can neither afford Internet access, nor use it effectively when it is available. Using a new cross-country data set, the authors investigate two proximate determinants of the digital divide: Internet intensity (Internet subscriptions per telephones mainline), and access to telecom services. Surprisingly, they find no gap in Internet intensity. When differences in urbanization, and competition policy are controlled for, low-income countries have intensities as high as those of industrial countries. While income does not seem to matter in this context, competition policy matters a great deal. Low-income countries with high World Bank ratings for competition policy, have significantly higher Internet intensities. The authors' findings on Internet intensity implies that the digital divide is not really new, but reflects a persistent gap in the availability of mainline telephones services. After identifying mobile telephones as a promising new platform for Internet access, they use panel data to study the determinants of mobile telephone diffusion during the past decade. Their results show that income explains part of the diffusion lag for poor countries, but they also highlight the critical role of policy. Developing countries whose policies promote economic growth, and private sector competition, have experienced much more rapid diffusion of mobile telephone services. Simulations based on the econometric results, suggest that feasible reforms could sharply narrow the digital divide during the next decade for many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The authors' review of the literature, also suggests that direct access promotion would yield substantial benefits for poor households, and that cost-effective intervention strategies are now available.

Official Documents
Official, scanned versions of documents (may include signatures, etc.)
File TypeDescriptionFile Size (mb)
PDF 24 pagesOfficial version*1.68 (approx.)
TextText version**
How To Order
Light-Weight Documents
Lighter (less MB) documents which may or may not be the final, official version
File TypeDescriptionFile Size (mb)
PDF 19 pagesWPS25670.08

* The official version is derived from scanning the final, paper copy of the document and is the official,
archived version including all signatures, charts, etc.
** The text version is the OCR text of the final scanned version and is not an accurate representation of the final text.
It is provided solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.



Permanent URL for this page: http://go.worldbank.org/5PK7YGM9K0