M-Government: An Opportunity for Addressing the Digital Divide

M-Government: An Opportunity for Addressing the Digital Divide

Aroon Manoharan (Kent State University, USA), Lamar Vernon Bennett (Long Island University, USA) and Tony Carrizales (Marist College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0318-9.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter looks at technological inequities throughout the world within the context of e-government. The purpose of the study is to evaluate and highlight existing digital divides and current trends among the various divides. The concept of the digital divide, within the context of e-government, is often associated with the lack of access and resources to citizens for the purpose of utilizing technology in working with government. Utilizing survey data of international municipal Web portals as well as existing United Nations data, this research evaluates existing divides throughout the world. Through these findings, the authors underscore opportunities for addressing such existing divides and modes of increasing e-government performance. Specifically, mobile technology or m-government is examined as a medium for further connecting government and its citizens.
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Literature Review

E-Government Data

The key questions of public management research have often sidelined the focus on social consequences of public administration in a democratic society (Kirlin, 1996). Under such circumstances, the emerging study of e-government introduces the risk of a digital divide between the digital ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. The definition of the digital divide is often associated with the lack of access to technology by certain sections of the public. The digital divide is not only confined to people’s access, but it can also be applicable to the online public service delivery by national governments. There clearly exists a divide among nations, particularly between the developed and developing nations, in terms of e-government functionality and performance. According to a United Nations report, “the network society is creating parallel communications systems: one for those with income, education and literal connections, giving plentiful information at low cost and high speed; the other for those without connections, blocked by high barriers of time, cost and uncertainty and dependent upon outdated information” (United Nations Development Program, 1999, p.63). In this research, we examine the divide in online services and functionality, among large municipalities throughout the world and also attempt to further understand the relationship of this digital divide to other divides - social, political, economic and literacy divides among nations, particularly those between OECD and non-OECD nations.

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