ICT, digital divide, developing economies
With regard to the trade sector, information and communication technology (ICT) is seen as a tool that not only helps to promote productivity, but also improve trade competitiveness. Previous studies have shown significant and positive contributions of ICT to trade, however such evidence may not necessarily be true for countries that have relatively lower level of ICT uptake, particularly those at the undesirable end of digital divide. This paper assesses the impact of ICT on trade measured in terms of merchandise and services, on 42 upper middle income countries (ICT haves) and 21 low income countries (ICT have-nots), separately, from 2007 to 2014. Using panel OLS and Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) estimation methods, findings revealed that ICT has no significant impact on either type of trade in low income countries, whereas more advanced forms of ICT namely, mobile cellular and the Internet emerge significant for upper middle income countries. These results suggest that level of ICT may still be at infancy in low income countries, while the ICT-enabled trade in upper middle income countries is already showing increased merchandise trade and service trade from the use of modern technologies.
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