DIGITAL INEQUALITY AND USAGE GAP IN THE V4 REGION
Name and surname of author:
Anna Vallušová, Ivana Kuráková, Žaneta Lacová
Digital transformation, digital divide, digital inequality, digitally vulnerable social groups, digital inclusion, V4 countries
DOI (& full text):
The V4 countries have achieved different levels of digital transformation due to distinctions in their individual technical infrastructure and human capital characteristics. The success of digital…more
The V4 countries have achieved different levels of digital transformation due to distinctions in their individual technical infrastructure and human capital characteristics. The success of digital transformation cannot be measured solely by the achieved level of digitalization; the distribution of favorable outcomes of internet use within a country should also be considered. The level of digital skills and usage patterns differ among social groups, therefore capability to translate internet access and use to tangible (offline) benefits varies. The aim of our paper is twofold. Firstly, we quantify the extent of the digital inequality in terms of usage gap in the V4 countries. We indicate the dynamics of inequality by comparing the development of such inequality between the years 2015 and 2019. Secondly, we identify socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors, which are connected to differences in internet usage patterns and therefore affect the capability of an individual to benefit from internet use. In common with other studies carried out in the Western world, we show that internet access and possession of formal digital skills are not the most important determinant of probability of being a digital beneficiary; individual characteristics, especially education and age, predict the probability of being a digital beneficiary to a higher degree of accuracy. As to the extent of digital inequality in the individual countries, we come to conclusion that although the V4 countries are relatively homogeneous concerning socioeconomic inequalities, the level of digital inequality among them differs – Hungary being somewhat unequal as compared to the most equal Czechia. In all four countries, equality increased within an observed period.