E-Government and the Digital Divide

E-Government and the Digital Divide

Tan Yigitcanlar (Griffith University, Australia) and Scott Baum (Griffith University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-947-2.ch130
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Abstract

Many governments world wide are attempting to increase accountability, transparency, and the quality of services by adopting information and communications technologies (ICTs) to modernize and change the way their administrations work. Meanwhile e-government is becoming a significant decision-making and service tool at local, regional and national government levels. The vast majority of users of these government online services see significant benefits from being able to access services online. The rapid pace of technological development has created increasingly more powerful ICTs that are capable of radically transforming public institutions and private organizations alike. These technologies have proven to be extraordinarily useful instruments in enabling governments to enhance the quality, speed of delivery and reliability of services to citizens and to business (VanderMeer & VanWinden, 2003). However, just because the technology is available does not mean it is accessible to all. The term digital divide has been used since the 1990s to describe patterns of unequal access to ICTs—primarily computers and the Internet—based on income, ethnicity, geography, age, and other factors. Over time it has evolved to more broadly define disparities in technology usage, resulting from a lack of access, skills, or interest in using technology. This article provides an overview of recent literature on e-government and the digital divide, and includes a discussion on the potential of e-government in addressing the digital divide.

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