Internet Adoption and Usage Patterns are Different: Implications for the Digital Divide

22 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2006  

Avi Goldfarb

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Jeffrey Prince

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

There is a well-documented a "digital divide" in internet connection. We ask whether a similar divide exists for internet usage. Using a survey of 18,439 Americans, we find that high-income, educated people were more likely to have adopted the internet by December 2001. However, conditional on adoption, low-income, less-educated people spend more time online. We examine four possible reasons for this pattern: 1) differences in the opportunity cost of leisure time, 2) differences in the usefulness of online activities, 3) differences in the amount of leisure time, and 4) selection. Our evidence suggests this pattern is best explained by differences in the opportunity cost of leisure time. Our results also help to determine the potential effects of internet-access subsidies.

Keywords: internet adoption, digital divide

JEL Classification: L86, L96

Suggested Citation

Goldfarb, Avi and Prince, Jeffrey, Internet Adoption and Usage Patterns are Different: Implications for the Digital Divide (May 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=882828 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.882828

Avi Goldfarb (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada
416-946-8604 (Phone)
416-978-5433 (Fax)

Jeffrey Prince

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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