The Tribal Digital Divide: Extent and Explanations

43 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2021 Last revised: 22 Jan 2022

See all articles by Matthew T. Gregg

Matthew T. Gregg

Center for Indian Country Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Anahid Bauer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Donna Feir

University of Victoria; Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 20, 2022

Abstract

We document systematic differences in connection speeds, prices for basic broadband service, and home internet access between American Indian Reservations and neighboring areas. Consistent with past studies, we find large raw tribal gaps in these broadband outcomes. Regression techniques and Oster's (2019) correction reveal that traditional cost factors, similar to those used in FCC's Connect American Cost Model, fully explain the price gap but explain only a fraction of the tribal gaps in access and connection speeds. Income differences are strong predictors on internet access but do not affect the tribal gap in connectivity. We conclude with a discussion of the factors specific to Indian County that might drive the unexplained gap in access and connectivity.

Keywords: Digital divide, Broadband, Internet, Indian Country, American Indian Reservations

JEL Classification: L96, J15, O18

Suggested Citation

Gregg, Matthew T. and Bauer, Anahid and Feir, Donna and Feir, Donna, The Tribal Digital Divide: Extent and Explanations (January 20, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3948233 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3948233

Matthew T. Gregg (Contact Author)

Center for Indian Country Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ( email )

United States

Anahid Bauer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Donna Feir

University of Victoria ( email )

3800 Finnerty Rd
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2
Canada

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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