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Measurement and characterisation of the Digital Divide of Spanish regions at enterprise level. A comparative analysis with the European context

Francisca Ruiz-Rodríguez, Angel Luis Lucendo-Monedero and Reyes González-Relaño

Telecommunications Policy, 2018, vol. 42, issue 3, 187-211

Abstract: Until now, a reduced number of research is observed on the adoption and use of ICTs in enterprises and on the digital divide (DD) between them at regional scale in Europe. What is meant by DD are the differences in the levels of digital development of the enterprises; being the digital development the degree of adoption and use of ICTs and e-commerce by the firms. The aim of this piece of work is to characterise and measure the DD in the Spanish regions and those in the countries of the European Union based on the data of their enterprises with more than 10 employees which have used ICTs. The methodology is developed in the following stages: 1) Construction of a synthetic index of digital development (Enterprise Digital Development Index –EDDI-) for countries in the EU and Spanish regions. The production of this index is carried out based on the factors obtained with the factor analysis (FA) with the aim of identifying the key variables which define the different EDDI components. These variables come from the “Community survey on ICT usage and e-commerce in enterprises” of Eurostat. 2) Classification of Spanish regions into the groups of European countries with a similar level of EDDI components based on the discriminant analysis. Those groups are previously obtained by using cluster analysis. And 3) Comparative analysis of the DD between the Spanish regions and those in countries of the EU based on EDDI components and the identified groups. The study provides a synthetic index (EDDI) at European scale comprising 3 dimensions which permits obtaining: i) a ranking from more to less digital development of countries and regions permitting the measurement of the DD among them is established; and ii) a typology of European countries and Spanish regions is defined according to the 3 dimensions of EDDI. The main results of this piece of work show that the Spanish regions at enterprise level: i) are in a medium or higher level of digital development than their European counterparts, presenting, furthermore, a lower DD between them in relation to what happens in European countries; ii) stand out for having a higher digital inclusion than European countries in the ICTs related to infrastructures of internet access and for the interaction with the public authorities; and iii) have a digital development deficit in the integration of ICTs for e-commerce.

Keywords: Spanish regions; Enterprise; Information and communication technology (ICT); Digital divide (DD); Multivariate analysis; European Union (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.telpol.2017.11.007

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