Competitiveness of the ASEAN Countries

Competitiveness of the ASEAN Countries

Corporate and Regulatory Drivers

New Horizons in International Business series

Edited by Philippe Gugler and Julien Chaisse

In an age of increased necessity for competitiveness of nations and at a time when the world economy is facing recession, this book explores the possible trajectory of ASEAN – arguably one of the most dynamic areas in the world – as a regional economic and political bloc. The expert contributors address the industrial competitiveness of ASEAN and analyse the role of MNEs against the background of the challenges of integration. They illustrate that regional integration will only be a success if ASEAN’s linkages are broadened with global partners through negotiations of Free Trade Agreements. The book concludes that although much still remains to be done, and many promises are still to be unveiled, ASEAN’s ‘coming of age’ is an historic milestone.

Chapter 7: Digital Divide in ASEAN Countries: Explaining the Gap

Chalita Srinuan, Ibrahim Kholilul Rohman, Pratompong Srinuan and Erik Bohlin

Subjects: asian studies, asian business, asian economics, business and management, asia business, international business, economics and finance, asian economics, international economics

Extract

Chalita Srinuan, Ibrahim Kholilul Rohman, Pratompong Srinuan and Erik Bohlin INTRODUCTION The term ‘digital divide’ refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographical areas at different socioeconomic levels with regard to opportunity to access information and communication technologies (ICTs) and to their use of the Internet (OECD, 2001). Factors which determine the existence of a digital divide include individual and household income, education, age, gender and linguistic background.1 In recent years, it has been accepted that ICTs are significant inputs to economic growth. Moreover, the efficiency use of ICTs in the development of international competitiveness, health and education, and in creating new job possibilities, is considered to be a significant component in determining the socioeconomic structure of countries, and a way of decreasing poverty (World Bank, 2006). ICTs are not just important in a few producing sectors, but are used in all sectors, for example education, health, the environment and government. Inadequate ICTs constrain the potential benefits. Moreover, the digital divide can increase the inequality in economic performance between developed and developing nations which is crucial in terms of competitiveness as discussed by Philippe Gugler and Pavida Pananond in Chapter 2. Even between developing countries, the digital divide can be increasing. This chapter examines whether a digital divide exists between developing countries, which in this case are represented by countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Since the digital divide is not a technological problem but an economic, social and political issue, an econometric model is...

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