ICT Exposure and the Level of Wellbeing and Progress: A Cross Country Analysis

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Innovations of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have influenced human life through time-saving, diffusion of knowledge, easy communication, and networks, access to information and automation with artificial intelligence. They not only increase productivity, cut-down hardship, improve transparency and governance, build social capital and empower individuals but also raise risks of cyber threats and insecurity of private life, displace labours, encourage sedentary life-style and digitally divide individuals in the society etc. These together do not seem to have unambiguous impacted on the aggregate wellbeing and progress (WPI) of a nation, and thus this paper empirically examined their resultant relationship at the aggregate level. An index of WPI has been prepared to account for the aggregate level of satisfaction derived from six sources, namely economic, human, progress, cultural, environmental wellbeing and happiness. Similarly, an index of ICT exposure has been constructed by combining access to mobile, internet and telephone connections, and internet security. Using a panel database for 67 countries representing all subcontinents during 2000–2014, we find that ICT exposure positively improves the aggregate level of WPI. The net impact is marginally lower in less-developed and developing countries (e.g., Africa, Asia, and the Middle East) than the rest (e.g., Europe and North America).

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We acknowledge a part of the research grant received from Research Council of Norway on ICT, Responsible Innovation and Wellbeing (Project No. 247921) to conduct this research and thank NUPI for the hospitality provided during Dr Maiti’s visit in Summer 2017. We thank Arne Melchior and Fulvio Castelacci for giving insightful comments on the earlier draft. We are also indebted to the Editor and anonymous referees for useful comments. We thank Prakash Singh for research support. Usual disclaimers apply.

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Correspondence to Dibyendu Maiti.

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See Figs. 4, 5, 6.

Fig. 4

Changes of ICT uses between 2000–2002 and 2012–2014

Fig. 5

Wellbeing components for year 2000–2014

Fig. 6

Summary statistic of wellbeing variables

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Maiti, D., Awasthi, A. ICT Exposure and the Level of Wellbeing and Progress: A Cross Country Analysis. Soc Indic Res 147, 311–343 (2020).

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  • Wellbeing
  • ICT
  • Progress
  • Digital divide

JEL Classification

  • J31
  • O33