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Using a digitization index to measure the economic and social impact of digital agendas

Raul Katz (Telecom Advisory Services LLC, based at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA)
Pantelis Koutroumpis (Telecom Advisory Services LLC, based at Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group, Imperial College Business School, London, UK)
Fernando Martin Callorda (Telecom Advisory Services LLC, based at the Center of Technology and Society, Universidad de San Andres, Buenos Aires, Argentina)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 7 January 2014




The purpose of this paper is to measure the cumulative, holistic impact of discrete information and communication technologies. It also provides a glimpse of applications and service adoption, which complements more traditional perspectives such as technology penetration. This approach is utilized to measure achievements in implementing a policy such as Europe's Digital Agenda.


Measuring digitization should cover the transition to digitally intensive societies across multiple sets of metrics, capturing not only technology penetration, but also its use in order to understand the full impact of digitization. For this purpose, a composite index was developed based on six overarching components: affordability, infrastructure investment, network access, capacity, usage, and human capital.


These concepts were utilized to assess Europe's performance in terms of its digitization. Significant gaps were highlighted both in terms of its uneven development, but also in terms of lags in the areas of infrastructure investment and digital technology usage. The economic payback to be generated by pro-actively addressing these gaps promises to be significant.

Practical implications

From a policy standpoint, the paper raises an interesting hypothesis to be explored in the European context: while the implementation of the Digital Agenda could be tackled in an overarching continental manner, particularities in each member country digitalization might raise the need for a more differentiated approach. In particular, European countries at the transitional stage should emphasize the creation of necessary incentives to accelerate investment in telecommunications networks. Additionally, demand promotion strategies focused on digital literacy and content development appear to be a critical lever to enhancing digitization. On the other hand, the policy challenges for the advanced countries appear to cluster around investment in infrastructure and the development of human capital.


Previous attempts to measure the impact of ICT have focused primarily on measuring and assessing the economic effects of widespread access to either wireless or broadband technology. This approach puts additional emphasis on two dimensions: cumulative impact of information and communication technologies and usage.



Received 1 October 2013 Revised 1 October 2013 Accepted 18 October 2013


Katz, R., Koutroumpis, P. and Martin Callorda, F. (2014), "Using a digitization index to measure the economic and social impact of digital agendas", info, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 32-44.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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