Disparities in Purposeful Internet Use in U.S. States: Spatiotemporal Patterns and Socioeconomic Influences
TPRC47: The 47th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2019
39 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2020
Date Written: July 26, 2019
As attention in digital divide research shifts from internet access to its use, and subsequently its impacts, this paper examines purposeful uses of the internet for the US states in 2017 using data from the Digital Nation Data Explorer of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The conceptual model posits relationships of a group of demographic, societal, economic, and social capital variables to purposeful internet use (PIU) dependent variables that reference spatial clustering. The research questions are examine spatial patterns of PIU in US states and associations of demographic, socio-economic, affordability, innovation, social capital and societal openness factors with PIU dependent variables. Methods employed include k-means cluster analysis, mapping, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis. Findings reveal unique cluster-based spatial patterns of high and low PIU in regions of the nation. The regression associations indicate that leading factors influencing PIU are professional, managerial, science and arts occupation, age (an inverse effect), social capital (positive effect), selected racial/ethnicity factors, and societal openness, with differences between PIU indicators for e-communication, e-entertainment, e-education, e-commerce, e-health, and purposeful internet use for internet-of-things and location-based services. Policy implications of the findings are discussed. The study is novel due to its emphasis on purposeful uses representing a second-level digital divide, the spatial insights, and new empirical findings.
Keywords: Purposeful Internet Use, Digital Divide, Social Capital, Regression, Spatial Autocorrelation, NTIA
JEL Classification: C21, C23, L86, L96
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation