Transnational Digital Identity as an Instrument for Global Digital Citizenship: The Case of Estonia’s E-Residency

  • Piia TammpuuEmail author
  • Anu Masso


Digital identity systems appear as part of the digital infrastructure that enables individuals to participate in society as digital citizens. This paper examines the implications of Estonia’s e-residency, the transnational digital identity scheme implemented by the Estonian government in order to give non-residents of the country remote access to Estonia’s digital infrastructure and e-services, for global digital citizenship. We explain the adoption of e-residency by analyzing how individual motives to apply for a digital identity are affected by both individual-level socio-demographic characteristics and macro-level characteristics measuring digital and economic development in applicant’s country of origin. The findings suggest that individual motives to adopt e-residency vary depending on both the citizenship of applicants and the level of e-government development in the country of origin. Although attracting more citizens from digitally advanced countries, individual motives indicate that e-residency can compensate certain digital disadvantage to citizens of countries with lower levels of e-government development.


Digital identity Digital citizenship Virtual mobility Digital inequality E-government E-residency 



The preparation of this article was supported by the grants from the Estonian Research Council (PUT1624, IUT 20-38) and by the developmental programme ASTRA of Tallinn University of Technology for years 2016-2022 (2014-2020.4.01.16-0032). The authors would like to thank Estonian Police and Border Guard Board for the cooperation in issuing the data for this research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social StudiesUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and GovernanceTallinn University of Technology12618 TallinnEstonia

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