Weaving the Western Web: Explaining Differences in Internet Connectivity Among OECD Countries

Authors: Eszter Hargittai

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Citation: Hargittai, E. (1999). Weaving the Western Web: Explaining Differences in Internet Connectivity Among OECD Countries. Telecommunications Policy. 23(10/11), 701-718.


Despite the Internet’s increasing importance, there is little social scientific work that addresses its diffusion. Our knowledge is especially limited with respect to the conditions that encourage its spread across nations. This paper takes a first step in explaining the differences in Internet connectivity among OECD countries. After examining the impact of economic indicators, human capital, institutional legal environment, and existing technological infrastructure, the empirical analyses show that economic wealth and telecommunications policy are the most salient predictors of a nations’ Internet connectivity.


  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Theoretical Considerations
    • Findings from previous research
    • Economic factors
    • Human capital
    • Institutional legal environment
    • Existing technologies
    • Testable propositions
  • Data and Methods
    • Outcome variable
    • Explanatory factors
  • Findings
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion


I would like to thank Marta Tienda, Miguel Centeno, Martin Dodge, Bruce Western, the members of Princeton University’s 1998/99 Sociology Empirical Research Seminar and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I am grateful to Tim Kelly, Ben Petrazzini and Sam Paltridge for their help in providing data.

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