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Navigating the Information Revolution:Choices for Laggard Countries

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Abstract:

The rapid diffusion of information and communication technologies has had a profound impact. But the so-called information revolution (IR) has been uneven, with some countries being far ahead and others far behind, resulting in the “digital divide.” Lagging countries need the means to move ahead if they are to access the benefits that IR offers and not suffer the consequences of being left out. Policymakers in these countries need to understand the drivers of IR and how they vary across the various stages of IR. But they are hampered by the lack of specific studies that could provide specific tools to do so. This study identifies stages of IR, classifies countries according to their various stages, and using country-level data, identifies the drivers that are important across stages of IR. The overriding drivers at all stages seem to be levels of human capital, quality of governance and the extent of urbanization. This analysis unifies long-term adoption drivers with short-term diffusion drivers to develop a road map that points the way for lagging countries.