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Late on the Curve: Causes and Consequences of Differences in Digital Skills

Late on the Curve: Causes and Consequences of Differences in Digital Skills
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Author(s): Jos de Haan (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 17
Source title: Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University, UK), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico) and Michael D. Williams (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch016

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Abstract

Differences in digital skills lie at the heart of social inequality in advanced knowledge societies. The Internet access ‘markets’ in these societies are close to reaching saturation point, giving almost everyone access to the Net. By contrast, differences in digital skills appear to be widening over time. This chapter focuses on The Netherlands, where above all the elderly, people with a lower education level, people who are economically inactive and members of ethnic minorities lag behind. It addresses the mechanisms that underlie differences in digital skills between population groups. A lack of financial and cognitive resources seems to be of particular importance. Based on a diffusion of innovations framework the paper goes beyond the largely descriptive research on the digital divide and considers the consequences of differences in digital skills. These differences influence the labour market performance of those at a digital disadvantage and also has an impact on their personal lives.

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