Skaletsky, Maria (2013). Essays on the Digital Divide - explorations through global, national and individual lenses. Master's thesis / Doctoral dissertation.
The Digital Divide has emerged as an important research and policy issue during the past thirty years. The divide exists at different levels, such as global, regional and individual levels. While extensive research already exists on this subject, the complexity of the issue presents opportunities for further research. In particular, there is ample scope for significantly contributing to the literature by leveraging recent analytics techniques, all the more since most of the literature on the Digital Divide relies on descriptive methods or on simple or multiple regression models. Therefore, the motivation for this study is two-fold. First, the Digital Divide is an important problem and contributing to its knowledge base is important in order to provide reliable information to policymakers. Second, the issue of the Digital Divide provides interesting opportunities to apply and evaluate advanced analytic techniques that have not been previously used in the Digital Divide literature. I make a contribution to existing literature by analyzing an evolution of the global Digital Divide and by providing a clearer and more complete understanding of the relationship between the Digital Divide and its predictors by using novel methodologies not previously used in Digital Divide studies. The second part of my dissertation addresses the regional and individual Digital Divide, particularly the Digital Divide in Russia, and methodological challenges arising from its research. Russia is a very large and diverse country which presents an interesting case of intra-country Digital Divide. While some research addressing the issue of the Digital Divide in Russia exists, no past studies address the issue of the evolution of the regional divide and no quantitative studies address the issue of the individual Digital Divide in Russia. We make a contribution by addressing these two issues and by extending the methodologies employed in the Digital Divide studies.