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Abstract

The growing perception that the Internet is becoming an engine of global economic and social change has inspired both governments and intergovernmental agencies to accelerate the diffusion of the Internet around the globe via multimillion dollar programs and initiatives. Unfortunately, few empirical studies guide these initiatives. The purpose of this research is to investigate the causes that drive Internet capacity, with special emphasis on diffusion theory. Global diffusion of IT requires some degree of structural conduciveness (similarities between developed and developing countries in economic, political, and social structures) as well as contact with developed countries. In our pooled time-series models of 58 developing nations over the 1995-2000 time period, we find that both structural conduciveness (i.e., teledensity, service economies, political openness, and global urban share) and globalization (i.e., aid share, tourist share, foreign investment share, and trade share) shape the distribution and growth of Internet usage.

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