Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Addressing territorial digital divides through ICT strategies: Are investment decisions consistent with local needs?

Reggi, Luigi and Gil-Garcia, J. Ramon (2021): Addressing territorial digital divides through ICT strategies: Are investment decisions consistent with local needs? Forthcoming in: Government Information Quarterly (2021)

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Abstract

Governments around the world are investing a great amount of resources in the development of an information society. These investments are particularly important as an attempt to close digital divides among countries and regions within countries. However, there is no clear evidence that suggests that current Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policies are helping align investments with the actual needs of the local contexts. Based on data about the allocation of 2014-2020 EU Funds, this paper analyzes the relationship between local needs and investment decisions aiming at bridging territorial digital divides. The results identify four different regional strategies developed around four policy goals: broadband, digital inclusion, digital government services, and the use of ICTs in enterprises. The results also show that unlike the past 2007-13 period, the allocations to these goals appear to be consistent with the ICT local context, i.e. funding for a given goal is higher in the regions that need it the most. Therefore, our main recommendation for the European Commission and Member States is to keep existing requirements for developing evidence-informed “Digital Growth” strategies for the next 2021-27 period. We also suggest to strengthen existing support tools for regional governments.

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