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Diffusion and usage of public e-services in Europe: An assessment of country level indicators and drivers

Seri, Paolo and Bianchi, Annaflavia and Matteucci, Nicola (2013): Diffusion and usage of public e-services in Europe: An assessment of country level indicators and drivers.

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Abstract

We analyze the state of the art of indicators on eGovernment, eHealth, eProcurement and ePartecipation. We survey the main methodological properties of these indicators, and uncover the principal stylized facts and trends; at the same time, we highlight their heuristic limits and potential inconsistencies. Finally, we address empirically the issue of the explanation of the indexes scores – i.e. how the supply of the various eServices in each country is affected by political, institutional and socio-economic differences, and is followed by actual usage. The econometric analysis uncovers the importance of broadband penetration and higher education as drivers for most of the types of eServices and users (citizens and businesses). Moreover, a corruption-free and agile public sector shows up to be an important pre-condition for more effective supply and usage. Despite severe data limits and the complexity of the underlying diffusion phenomena, our study of eServices availability and usage across European countries is a first empirical contribution aimed at disentangling broad empirical trends – with their correlates - from unresolved methodological issues. As such, this work appears useful to inform the policy debate and practice, in a phase characterized by a prospective reorientation of public eServices provision.

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