Interdisciplinary Perspectives/Part I: Economic Perspectives (Editorial Introduction)
Journal of the AIS
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been rapidly diffusing around the world in the past thirty years. However, many observers in international government and non-government organizations, including the various agencies of the United Nations, the World Bank, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Telecommunications, among other organizations, have recognized through their research studies that the global distribution of ICT capital has
... ot been even. They also have argued that technology has not been uniformly effective in boosting countries' economic growth, social welfare, and technological well-being. In two special issues (December 2005 and January 2006), the Journal of the Association for Information Systems explores the issues of the digital divide. This term is most often used to characterize the differences in access between social systems at different levels of aggregation, such as regions of the world, countries, individuals and organizations to the advanced capabilities of computers and the Internet, telecommunications and wireless phone services, and the wealth of knowledge that can be found in sites and pages on the World Wide Web. Our editorial goal of the guest co-editors, Sanjeev Dewan of the University of California at Irvine and Fred Riggins of the University of Minnesota, and I for these two special issues is to create the basis in JAIS for ongoing interdisciplinary exploration and discussion of the leading digital divide issues and perspectives. These include public policy, public use, and social welfare; ICT investments, corporate strategy, social impacts and economic value; accelerators and inhibitors of ICT adoption and diffusion, and national and regional ICT penetration; political, social, and structural readiness for ecommerce; and different human aspects of usage, behavior, and effective design. This seems like an especially apropos time to bring this discussion to print, in view of the recent news of Nicholas Negroponte's and the MIT Media Labs' efforts to distribute millions of "$100 PCs" in the global marketplace, to transform the economics of computer and Internet access, and to begin to bridge the gap between the "digital haves" and the "digital have-nots." SPECIAL ISSUE Kauffman/ Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the 'Digital Divide'