Report on ICTs in economic development
May 17th, 2007

(Thanks again, Rich)

While reports of specific incidents where the use of ICTs has helped subsistence farmers or fishermen, comprehensive, systematic study of ICTs in development has just begun. Karen Eggleston of the Department of Economics Tufts University, Robert Jensen and Richard Zeckhauser of the John F. Kennedy School of Government have written about the potential of information and communication technologies in the development process (PDF).

There is great optimism over the potential for information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote economic development and alleviate poverty. Currently, however, there is neither a solid theoretical basis nor convincing empirical evidence to support such optimism. This chapter identifies the economic underpinnings of the argument for a significant role for ICTs in the development process. The basic premise is that information and communication are valuable commodities that can enhance the functioning of markets critical for the well-being of the poor. Recent advances in ICTs can bring these benefits to even the poorest of the poor in the developing world.

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