Arnold Kling

Digital Divide Crossed

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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A recent Commerce Department study suggests that minorities are crossing the "digital divide."

Between August 2000 and September 2001, Internet use among Blacks and Hispanics increased at annual rates of 33 and 30 percent, respectively. Whites and Asian American and Pacific Islanders experienced annual growth rates of approximately 20 percent during these same periods.

My hypothesis is that as people start to use the Internet, they become less receptive to the victimology rhetoric that is embedded in a phrase like "digital divide." My guess is that the Blacks and Hispanics who are using the Internet are less likely to identify themselves as helpless losers who need government programs to overcome their victim status.

Discussion Question. How important will computers and Internet access be in enabling minorities to make economic gains?

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