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The Digital Divide across All Citizens of the World: A New Concept

Social Indicators Research Volume 89, Number 2, ISSN 0303-8300


This paper is concerned with the requirements for and implications of, moving from the confines of the conventional concept of the digital divide to one that reflects a world distribution of Internet users with different income levels, with particular reference to those users living in poverty. The first part of the note provides a simple, sequential, two-country illustration of what such a transition would entail. The resulting framework is then used to revisit the much-discussed issue of recent changes in Internet use between rich and poor countries. One mechanism that is associated with the revised concept is shown to substantially reduce the size of the digital divide as conventionally measured. The other mechanism, by contrast, works in the opposite direction because the increased number of users in developing countries are drawn from high-income, educated and urban classes, creating a highly unequal distribution within these countries.


James, J. (2008). The Digital Divide across All Citizens of the World: A New Concept. Social Indicators Research, 89(2), 275-282. Retrieved February 19, 2020 from .

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