The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies
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The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies

Measuring Inclusion and Diffusion in Europe

Edited by Paolo Guerrieri and Sara Bentivegna

The Economic Impact of Digital Technologies offers a profoundly illuminating examination of ICT transformations in Europe and its critical role in greater social inequality. It presents scholars and policy makers with original and practical tools to benchmark and assess the ICT diffusion and inclusion process. The core message of the book is that a coherent European strategy for embedding ICT technologies in society is long overdue.
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Chapter 5: The economic impact of e- inclusion: a review of the literature


5. The economic impact of e-inclusion: a review of the literature 5.1 ASSESSING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF E-INCLUSION: OPEN ISSUES AND CHALLENGES The idea that the emergence and diffusion of ICT represent a paradigmatic change potentially similar, in scale and scope, to previous technological revolutions that have shaped and fuelled long cycles of economic growth, is widely accepted. Over the last two decades a substantial body of empirical literature has tried to assess such an impact precisely. Until recently, the basic conceptual and methodological framework used in this stream of empirical research has been rooted in a neoclassical-type production function setting. The underlying idea was that ICT could be treated as any other capital input, ignoring the pervasive and general-purpose nature of this new bunch of technologies able to re-shape almost any aspect of the way in which society and economies are organized and function. In the last decade a more complex and holistic way of looking at ICT, and at its potential contribution to economic and social life, has progressively emerged. This literature has developed within a policy-oriented framework along two main themes concerns: the emergence of new phenomena of social exclusion associated with an uneven capacity (both within society and the economy) to access and benefit from ICT (digital divide literature); and the recognition of the potential benefits brought about by ICT, seen as an extraordinary means to facilitate social and economic inclusion and through this to achieve greater and more widespread wealth (CEC, 2007a). Both themes are...

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