Developing a Digital Inclusion Index at the State Level: The Case of Mexico
27 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019
Date Written: August 5, 2019
Despite consensus over the importance of measuring digital inclusion, there is a lack of agreement among researchers on how it should be measured. This paper builds extensively off of prior research on measuring digital inclusion by analyzing different definitions for digital inclusion and comparing common digital inclusion indices. We analyze the variables included in five indices intended to measure digital inclusion:
1) Australian Digital Inclusion Index,
2) CISCO Country Digital Readiness,
3) ITU Digital Access Index,
4) The Economist Inclusive Internet Index, and
5) the World Bank Digital Adoption Index.
Using a methodology called “qualitative meta-synthesis,” we select variables that appear in at least three of the five original indices for inclusion in a more parsimonious index, the Digital Inclusion and Policy Index (DIP Index). We construct and analyze four versions of the DIP Index to validate fitness—two versions contain parsimonious combinations of variables from the five original indices and two versions add a variable to measure the presence of state-level digital inclusion policy. Data collected from the National Statistics and Geography Institute of Mexico for all 32 States of Mexico from 2018 are used to recreate four of the five original indices and our four versions of the DIP Index. These indices are correlated with each other and with an independent measure of economic and social competitiveness, the State Competitive Index developed by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness. Theory supports a positive relationship between digital inclusion strategies and increasing state-level competitiveness in regard to economic and social factors. The results suggest that a parsimonious index of as few as four variables is capable of measuring digital inclusion and that an index of as few as five variables, including a variable to measure the presence of state-level digital inclusion policy, is capable of measuring digital inclusion and impacts of state-level digital inclusion policy. The results create a parsimonious index for measuring digital inclusion, which can serve to alleviate costs for data gathering and elucidate the differing impacts of state-level policy strategies on digital inclusion.
Keywords: Digital Inclusion, Public Policy, Digital Gap, Telecommunications, Mexico
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