Journal section "Regional economics"

Inclusion of Population in Digital Space: Global Trends and Inequality of Russian Regions

Gruzdeva M.A.

Volume 13, Issue 5, 2020

Gruzdeva M.A. Inclusion of population in digital space: global trends and inequality of Russian regions. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2020, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 90–104. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2020.5.71.5

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2020.5.71.5

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The issue of digital inequality and development of a methodology for measuring it has been at the center of attention of researchers, members of public administration, companies directly involved in the provision of Internet communication services, and other interested parties for more than twenty years. This issue became relevant with the increase of the rate of the Internet spread in certain parts of the world, and, accordingly, the lag of other countries behind them in the late 90s and early 21st century. The sphere of information and communication technologies is one of the most rapidly changing ones, which is probably why the theoretical and methodological foundations of the study of digital inequality are still not clearly defined, which actualizes research in this area and the importance of monitoring trends in the world and individual states. The purpose of our work is the usage of the three-level model of digital inequality for assessing first-level differences among population of Third World countries and Russian regions. It is assumed that the research results will create prerequisites for continuing study on other levels of digital asymmetry among Russian population, which will allow revealing not just the fact of its inclusion in digital space but the level of digital competencies and opportunities provide by the usage of modern information technologies. We use a set of scientific methods; for measuring inequality, the author resorts to the calculation of the variation coefficient, grouping of countries or regions based on levels of Internet connectivity. Conclusions are drawn about the existence of the first-level digital inequality in the world, despite a significant decrease of the differentiation of countries by Internet connectivity. It is revealed that Russia, in comparison with other countries, shows a significant increase of the share of Internet users, and there are elements of digital divide within Russian regions even with the decrease of variation coefficients. The scientific novelty of the study is the assessment of the scale and dynamics of the first-level digital inequality among population at the country and regional levels, grouping of countries, and Russian regions by the share of Internet users and the usage of mobile devices to access the network


russia, information and communication technologies, territorial digital inequality, internet connectivity, levels of digital inequality, technological and economic factors of digital inequality

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