The Digital Divide and What To Do About It

Authors: Eszter Hargittai

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Citation: Hargittai, E. (2003). The Digital Divide and What to Do About It. New Economy Handbook, Edited by D.C. Jones, San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 822-841.


In a society where knowledge-intensive activities are an increasingly important component of the economy, the distribution of knowledge across the population is increasingly linked to stratification. Much attention among both academic researchers and in policy circles has been paid to what segments of the population have access to the Internet or are Internet users. Although the medium has seen high rates of diffusion, its spread has been unequal both within and across nations. In this chapter, I look at (a) individual-level inequality in Internet access and use in the United States, (b) cross-national variation in connectedness, and (c) inequality from the side of content producers in gaining audiences for their material online.


  • Introduction
  • Defining the “Digital Divide”
  • From Digital Divide to Digital Inequality
  • Global Digital Inequality
  • Inequality in Content Production and Distribution
  • Conclusion


Some of the material in this chapter draws on work with Paul DiMaggio to whom I am grateful for many discussions on the topic. I also thank the National Science Foundation (grant IIS0086143) and the Dan David Foundation for supporting this work.

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