E-Government and Social Exclusion: An Empirical Study

E-Government and Social Exclusion: An Empirical Study

Liz Lee-Kelley (University of Surrey, UK) and Thomas James (University of Surrey, UK)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jeco.2003100101
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In the UK, central government’s vision is to deploy all local government services electronically by 2005. Yet recent government and commercial statistics have indicated a widening gap between those who are e-literate and those who are not. This study examines the possibility of social exclusion from e-government implementation. Anchored on two questions–(a) What are the factors influencing the adoption of e-government initiatives? and (b) Is the implementation of e-government likely to result in the social exclusion of certain groups in the community?–the study sampled members of the public from two local authorities in the UK to investigate their dispositions towards the new offering of online government services. The results found that unlike previous research, basic demographic characteristics do not appear to be related to Internet (or e-government) use. This could be a consequence of new and improved technologies reducing access barriers. However, there were clear indications that language, ethnicity, cognitive computer skills and a positive personal attitude towards online transactions are the key drivers for e-government adoption. Of concern is the existence of a hard core of non-users, which will require a proactive policy to provide the relevant facilitating conditions to promote use and experience. This study contributes to a better understanding of the factors required for effective online public services delivery and the ways to direct resources into increasing Internet literacy and use.

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