Measuring Socio-Economic Digitization: A Paradigm Shift

31 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012 Last revised: 18 Jun 2012

See all articles by Raul L. Katz

Raul L. Katz

The Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI)

Pantelis Koutroumpis

Imperial College Business School; Columbia Institute for Tele-Information

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Date Written: May 29, 2012


Digitization is defined as the social transformation triggered by the massive adoption of digital technologies to generate, process, share and transact information. Unlike other technological innovations, digitization builds on the evolution of network access technologies, semiconductor technologies, software engineering and the spillover effects resulting from their use. This paper presents a methodology followed to calculate the Digitization Index, a measure of country level of digitization, a concept originally developed by Booz & Company, the global management consulting firm. This index consists of six elements capturing Ubiquity, Affordability, Reliability, Speed, Usability and Skill and 23 sub-indicators measuring tangible parameters of perceived digitization metrics. The sample spans across 150 countries from 2004 to 2010. Countries are clustered as Digitally Constrained, Emerging, Transitional or Advanced. Once the index is defined, hypotheses regarding the contribution of digitization to economic growth, job creation and welfare are tested. In addition, a critical mass hypothesis is also tested as additional returns might derive from network externalities and spillover effects. The results provide strong support for the effect of digitization across all growth generating metrics.

Keywords: digitization, economic growth, unemployment, welfare

JEL Classification: L96, L52, O38

Suggested Citation

Katz, Raul L. and Koutroumpis, Pantelis, Measuring Socio-Economic Digitization: A Paradigm Shift (May 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Raul L. Katz

The Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) ( email )

535 W 116th St.
New York, NY 10027
United States
0012128544222 (Phone)
0012128541471 (Fax)

Pantelis Koutroumpis (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Columbia Institute for Tele-Information ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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