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A multidimensional and integrative approach to study global digital divide and e-government development

Fang Zhao (School of Business and Management, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Alan Collier (Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Hepu Deng (School of Business Information Technology and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 25 February 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of the digital divide on e-government development.


The study takes a multidimensional and integrative approach in order to examine the various ways in which different contextual factors affecting the digital divide (i.e. economic, social, political, demographic, cultural and ICT infrastructure) interact to influence e-government development. To test the hypotheses, authors perform a correlation and multiple regression analysis using SPSS.


After analysing several global data sets such as those of the World Bank and the United Nations, the study finds that the digital divide is a multidimensional construct that has a significant impact on e-government development in various ways. In contrast to the consensus view of a correlation existing between economic status on the one hand, and the digital divide and e-government development on the other, this study finds that economic status is not a significant predictor of the digital divide or e-government development.

Practical implications

The findings should help inform public policy makers when developing strategies to deal with issues of the digital divide and e-government development by encouraging analysis in a holistic and integrative way. Simply addressing the digital divide alone is unlikely to be sufficient to stimulate an increase in the uptake of e-government. Moreover, our model helps identify areas of strengths as well as weaknesses for improvement.


The authors develop a multidimensional and integrative research model to study the digital divide and e-government development and the relationship between the two, and validate the model through systematically testing it with empirical data. This study is among the first to take such an approach.



The authors wish to express their gratitude to Dr Kathy Ning Shen at the University of Wollongong in Dubai for her valuable advice and feedback in regard to the data analysis in this paper. They also thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their constructive feedback and suggestions for revisions to the paper.


Zhao, F., Collier, A. and Deng, H. (2014), "A multidimensional and integrative approach to study global digital divide and e-government development", Information Technology & People, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 38-62.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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