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Measuring the Digital Divide

Measuring the Digital Divide

Accurate measurement of digital divides is important for policy purposes, but existing methodologies and data have limited our ability to examine the issue. James Prieger and Wei-Min Hu compare the performance of alternative methods using a large dataset on DSL subscription, paying particular attention to whether women, blacks, and Hispanics catch up to others in broadband adoption. Duration analysis, which sheds light on how groups progress along adoption curves, reveals the most useful information about digital divides and how they change over time. Policymakers can use the information to identify groups for which a divide is widening rather than closing. Their results support the collection of broadband statistics in panel form, where the same households are followed over time.

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