شکاف دیجیتالی: عوامل و سیاست با توجه ویژه به آسیا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|16424||2003||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Asian Economics, Volume 13, Issue 6, January 2003, Pages 811–825
Access to the new information and communication technologies (ICT) remains extremely unequally distributed across and within societies. While there have been a good deal of popular discussions about this “digital divide”, not much is known about the quantitative significance of its various determinants. By undertaking a set of cross-country regressions, the paper finds that income, education, and infrastructure play a critical role in shaping the divide. Based on this analysis, the paper also offers some policy suggestions as to how to promote a wider diffusion of ICT in poorer societies.
Much has been written about the digital divide: the division of the world between those who have access to the new information and communications technology (ICT) and those who don’t. This inequitable access to the ICT has implications for productivity and economic growth of rich and poor countries. For example, the UNDP (1999, p. 63) notes: “The network society is creating parallel communications systems: one for those with income, education and literacy connections, giving plentiful information at low cost and high speed: the other are those without connections, blocked by high barriers of time, cost and uncertainty and dependent upon outdated information”. Similar concerns have been expressed by such authors as Dertouzos (1997) and Sachs (2000) with the latter claiming that a new map of the world has been created, this time based on technology. However, there are many others who are much more optimistic. For example, Negroponte (1998) opines that ICT has a “leapfrogging” characteristic that will enable the poor to catch up. As latecomers, developing countries can embrace existing technologies developed elsewhere and skip intermediate stages allowing them to save on considerable costs of development. In light of the contending viewpoints, it is important to learn what the basic economic determinants of the digital divide are and the ways to overcome it. The organization of the paper is as follows. Section 2 provides a brief discussion of the various types of ICT, which constitute the backbone of the digital economy. Section 3 is devoted to a discussion of the determinants of ICT adoption. The quantitative analysis provided in this section suggests that there is a strong association between ICT adoption with the socio-economic characteristics of the country. In light of this discussion, the paper makes in Section 4 some inferences about the policy choices for developing countries that would like to promote ICT adoption. The discussion of this section is primarily focused on Asian countries. However, despite the particular empirical focus of the present analysis, it is hoped that the insights from this analysis would be equally applicable to other parts of the developing world. The paper provides some concluding remarks in Section 5.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The advent of new types of ICT, in conjunction with globalization, has opened up fresh opportunities for economic and social transformations from which both developed and developing countries can immensely benefit. In this regard, two important features of new ICT have been emphasized. First, unlike previous technological innovations, access to new technologies—and the benefits they can bestow—can be almost immediate to developing countries. New ICT can be applied selectively and innovatively to directly enhance the welfare of the poor, although the existing data do not afford a full-fledged cost-benefit assessment (Quibria & Tschang, 2001). Second, new types of ICT are likely to contribute toward a more efficient integration of the global labor markets than was considered possible before. While the forces of globalization are rapidly breaking down trade and investment barriers, new types of ICT are facilitating relocation of manufacturing and services industries more in line with comparative advantage across the world. The new types of ICT promote more efficient delivery of services, especially where such services can be digitized, and ensure rapid dissemination of market information. This process has the potential of bringing about a more seamless integration of the global labor markets—including those for unskilled workers—and elimination of absolute poverty. Notwithstanding the immense potential of new types of ICT, many observers feel that the digital divide will not evaporate immediately or automatically. It is also felt that an aggressive strategy of investment in ICT, neglecting other critical developmental priorities, solely with the objective of eliminating the digital divide, may be counterproductive. Such a strategy will simply detract attention from the more fundamental developmental needs that many countries require to address on an urgent basis. They include such fundamental constraints to economic development as improving the basic infrastructure; opening up markets; breaking telecommunication monopolies; pursuing an effective legal and regulatory system; and providing education for all. For countries that try to skirt these problems, their efforts at computerization and Internet access may turn out to be mere wasteful investments—and indeed a recipe for financial disasters, given the scope for better use of scarce investible resources elsewhere in the economy.7 If governments in poor countries channel their scarce financial and political resources to developing social and human capital, building the basic infrastructure and creating a level playing field for the private sector, that will go a long way in creating the prerequisites for the ICT sector to flourish. Beginning modestly with such areas as data processing and teleworking, the poor countries can gradually move to more sophisticated tasks of software development and hardware innovation. Thus, notwithstanding the concerns voiced on the perils of being left behind in this digital age, developing countries should carefully balance between their conflicting needs of adopting modern technology and preparing the basic foundation for economic development.