ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.289
Global views on the social-economic impact of ICTs: From digital divide to the development opportunities

Akihiko Shinozaki
Kyushu University
Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Daisuke Tahara
Kyushu University

The full text is written in Japanese.


The purpose of this paper is to review the global discussions on the social-economic impact of ICTs over the last two decades and then to observe how ICTs have been diffusing around the world based on the available long-run dataset. For this purpose, we surveyed major projects conducted by several international organizations such as ITU and UNCTAD and then we built the global dataset that represents the pervasion of fixed telephone, mobile phone, and internet as well as social-economic conditions such as GDP per capita and adult literacy rate among 213 countries and regions. This study reveals that international community, which first focused on digital divide, began to move their interest into digital opportunities for the social-economic development in the mid-2000s in accordance with rapid spread of the technology, especially mobile phone, even in the less developed countries where GDP per capita and adult literacy rate are considerably low. As a result, Gini coefficient demonstrates digital divide is beginning to close now.

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