Title: From digital divide to digital inequality: the global perspective

Authors: Chin-Chang Ho, Shu-Fen Tseng

Addresses: Human Computer Interaction Program in Graduate School of Informatics, Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis, 535 West Michigan Street, Room IT 475 Indianapolis, IN 46202-3103, USA. ' Graduate School of Social Informatics, Yuan Ze University, 135 Yuan-Tung Road, Chung-Li 320, Taiwan

Abstract: This paper aims at comparing patterns of digital divide on the global scale. The question of whether the global trend of digital divide has widened or narrowed is discussed in this study. Moreover, this paper examines effects of geographical region, developmental level, social inequality, and global linkage of economy on the penetration of Internet usage. Data is collected and compared from sources of the World Bank and ITU. The results suggest the global digital divide has persisted. A dual development has been found in an overtime comparison. Developed and rapidly developing regions have shown a narrowing gap of Internet penetration toward the Northern European region in the past few years. The other developing and the least developed regions, in contrast, have verified the stratified model and revealed persisting divides over time compared to the developed regions. An overall high digital Gini coefficient worldwide indicates global inequality of Internet penetration is phenomenal.

Keywords: digital Gini coefficient; digital inequality; global digital divide; internet; enterprise management; information technology; communications; ICT.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIEM.2006.010915

International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, 2006 Vol.4 No.3, pp.215 - 227

Published online: 17 Sep 2006 *

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