Measuring Digital Divide: The Exploration in Macao

Jianbin Jin, Angus Weng Hin Cheong


Digital divide is one of the most ill defined concepts in Internet-related social science investigations. This paper begins with the review of literature of digital divide and introduces problematic examples of conceptualization and operationalization of the concept. In particular, we focus on the methods researchers have been using for the purpose of quantifying the magnitude of digital divide. As previous research efforts have been largely made from a descriptive approach, which has inevitably yielded diverse presentation and interpretation, we then justify the necessity of using a standard measure of distribution inequality, i.e., Gini coefficient, in the studies of digital divide. A defining framework which encompasses three key constitutive components--levels of analysis, inequality types and types of ICT involved is also elaborated. With these theoretical and methodological preparations, we then attempt to explore the dynamic nature of digital divide by constructing six digital divide indexes from the survey databank over a period of six years collected in Macao. The empirical investigation of the “dynamic disequilibria” of digital divide reveals that different evolutive patterns between access divide and usage divides exist.


Digital divide, access divide, usage divide, Macao

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