Understanding Digital Inequality: Comparing Continued Use Behavioral Models of the Socio-Economically Advantaged and Disadvantaged

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Digital inequality is one of the most critical issues in the knowledge economy. The private and public sectors have devoted tremendous resources to address such inequality, yet the results are inconclusive. Theoretically grounded empirical research is needed both to expand our understanding of digital inequality and to inform effective policy making and intervention. The context of our investigation is a city government project, known as the LaGrange Internet TV initiative, which allowed all city residents to access the Internet via their cable televisions at no additional cost. We examine the residents’ post-implementation continued use intentions through a decomposed theory of planned behavior perspective, which is elaborated to include personal network exposure. Differences in the behavioral models between socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged users who have direct usage experience are theorized and empirically tested. The results reveal distinct behavioral models and isolate the key factors that differentially impact the two groups. The advantaged group has a higher tendency to respond to personal network exposure. Enjoyment and confidence in using information and communication technologies, availability, and perceived behavioral control are more powerful in shaping continued ICT use intention for the disadvantaged. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Additional Details
Author J. J. Po-An Hsieh, Arun Rai, and Mark Keil
Year 2008
Volume 32
Issue 1
Keywords Digital divide, digital inequality, IT policy, technology acceptance, socio-economic inequality
Page Numbers 97-126
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