ICT, digital divide, financial development


Information and communication technology (ICT) tools are regarded as imperative not only for enabling the economy to grow at a healthy rate, but also for elevating the socioeconomic conditions and standards of the society. In concurrence with the widespread diffusion of ICT, lies the phenomenon called digital divide – a complex issue pertaining to unequal access, use and applications of ICT among countries and peoples. This paper attempts to measure the contribution of conventional factors such as affordability, infrastructure, trade openness and urbanization, with added emphasis on the role of financial development in explaining cross-country development of ICT among Southeast Asian countries. Using panel data for 4 countries for the period 1994 – 2011, findings of this study revealed that GDP is the most significant determinant in explaining digital divide – consistent with findings from previous research efforts. Financial development also appear significant in most models adopted in all three ICT tools, implying the need for these countries to improve their financial markets to avoid falling further behind in promoting a digitally inclusive society

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