This paper reports the results of two studies that investigated factors that influence the digital divide at the macro level. We propose a telecommunications infrastructure index as a measure of the country-level digital divide that is composed of five primary indices that define a country's ICT infrastructure capacity. The first part of the analysis identifies economic, socio-demographic, political, and cultural factors that differentiate 86 developed and developing countries. The second part of the analysis examines factors that differentiate ICT penetration rates for 21 Arab nations. Overall, results show that for the 86 countries political variables are the most important factor that influences the digital divide. Cultural differences, specifically gender disparities in literacy, influence the digital divide in the 21 Arab countries. The availability of secondary data published by official government sources is a serious limitation. Nonetheless, this research has practical and managerial implications for public management and for policy makers, including information about how to segment citizens into more refined groups to facilitate better resource allocation; development of policies designed to raise the literacy level, particularly ones that are specifically targeted at educating women; and training programs to educate the underserved about technology and to provide subsidized access to disadvantaged people.
Harfouche, Antoine and Robbin, Alice, "ANTECEDENTS OF THE DIGITAL DIVIDE AT THE MACRO LEVEL" (2011). MCIS 2011 Proceedings. 83.