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Employment and Gender Digital Divide in Latin America

Congrats to ARNIC’s director Professor Hernan Galperin for his new publication in the Spanish-language journal Revista Latinoamericana de Economia y Sociedad Digital. The paper is titled “Employment and the Gender Digital Divide in Latin America: A Decomposition Analysis”.

The original publication in Spanish can be found here, and an English-language pre-publication version is available here.

ABSTRACT There is a vast literature that examines the determinants of the gender digital gap in developing countries and puts forth policy recommendations to mitigate it. However, few studies examine how gender differences in employment patterns affect ICT adoption in general, or Internet use in particular. This matters because labor force participation and the types of jobs that men and women do often correlate with different opportunities to access the Internet and develop ICT skills, both of which contribute to overall Internet engagement. This study contributes to fill this gap by exploring how gender differences in employment affect the digital gender gap in three Latin American countries. The findings conclusively point to employment as the single most relevant contributor to the gap in Internet adoption between men and women, ahead of other traditional predictors of Internet engagement such as age, education and income. Further, our results suggest that being employed is a significantly larger contributor to Internet use for women than for men, which we attribute to the fact that women tend to work in more ICT-intensive sectors (e.g., health services, education, etc.). Lower bound estimates from a decomposition analysis indicate that if women were employed at the same rate as men the gender digital gap in these countries would be reduced by at least a quarter.