Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

9-2011

Comments

NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Telecommunications Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms, may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Telecommunications Policy, Volume 35, Issue 8, September, 2011, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2011.07.001.

Abstract

It is widely speculated that the emergence of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) will boost political development in the developing world. This expectation anchors on solid foundation since, presumably, the ICT revolution would radically alter access to information, dislodge entrenched social cleavages, and unleash new patterns of citizen consciousness and civic engagement by hitherto marginalized mass publics, and orchestrate new and decisive political equilibriums. In this research, we provide an empirical assessment of the impact of ICTs on political development in sub-Saharan Africa. Our analysis suggests that speculation about the potential for ICTS to enhance political development in the sub-Sahara is not unrealistic. The levels of phone, computer, and internet diffusion are associated with political development, although only the effect of the phone remains once other variables are specified. The phone is the most robust of all individual factors explaining variations in political development. However, t he effect of ICTs on political development can neither be certified as revolutionary, nor can they be codified as panacea.

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Date Posted: 27 February 2014