Title: Mapping the global digital divide

Authors: D. Steven White, Angappa Gunasekaran, Timothy P. Shea, Godwin C. Ariguzo

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA. ' Department of Decision and Information Sciences, Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA. ' Department of Decision and Information Sciences, Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA. ' Department of Management and Marketing, Charlton College of Business, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747, USA

Abstract: The global digital divide as a concept is intuitively understood by most academicians, politicians and public policy makers. However, to date little empirical work exists to explain differences in per country access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). The research that does exist places heavy influence on the impact of country wealth, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, on the diffusion of ICTs. While GDP per capita certainly influences the diffusion of ICTs within a country, it is not the sole determinant of a country|s location versus other countries vis-a-vis the global digital divide. To investigate and map the global digital divide, as it currently exists, the authors utilise model-based cluster analysis to determine cohorts of countries based on three variables: personal computers per 100 population, internet users per 100 population and internet bandwidth per person. The results indicate that the global digital divide consists of four tiers. And although all of the developed countries are included in the first tier, some surprising results are obtained. Implications of the results are discussed and directions for future research are provided.

Keywords: global digital divide; model-based cluster analysis; mapping; information technology; communications technology; ICT access; national wealth; gross domestic product; GDP per capita; ICT diffusion; country locations; personal computers; internet users; world wide web; bandwidth; developed countries; developing nations; digital infrastructures; business information systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2011.038512

International Journal of Business Information Systems, 2011 Vol.7 No.2, pp.207 - 219

Available online: 10 Feb 2011 *

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