Digital divide and sustainable development of Ukrainian regions


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Digital inequality of the regions is considered one of the topical issues of sustainable development provision in less developed countries. It can be defined as a gap between the geographical areas regarding the access opportunities to ICT and the Internet use for different activities. The goal of the study is to identify the link between the regional digital divide and the level of economic development in Ukraine and generalize international practices of digitalization promotion in lagging regions. Methodologically, various statistical methods (analytical grouping, variation, and correlation analysis) were used. The most appropriate and available data for assessing the digital divide referred to the State Statistical Service of Ukraine’s survey on Internet users in Ukrainian regions. The study revealed an overall shrink in the variation coefficient of the share of Internet users (from 36.4% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2019). However, the variation coefficients for the share of interacting with public authorities, reading online, and e-mailing persons remain significant.
Furthermore, analytical grouping of regions suggested that the level of industrial sector development influenced the penetration of digital technologies into public life vastly, though several unaccounted factors also existed. Finally, the paper examined international practices of managing the digital divide. As a result, recommendations for public policy (e.g., the implementation of training programs for late adults and elderly, improved digital maintenance and digitalization programs for schools, price equalization for digital technologies, equal Internet provision in different regions, and investments in services digitalization) were developed.

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    • Figure 1. Regional Disparity Index in the European countries in 2018
    • Table 1. Socio-economic and digital development of Ukrainian regions, 2019
    • Table 2. Ukraine in various world digital indices compared to other countries
    • Table 3. Coefficients of variation for regional digital disparities in 2010 and 2019
    • Table 4. Analytical grouping by GDP per capita
    • Table 5. Analytical grouping by share of industrial sector value added in GRP
    • Table 6. Analytical grouping by industrial sector value added per capita
    • Table 7. Analytical grouping by manufacturing value added per capita
    • Conceptualization
      Liudmyla Deineko, Oleksandr Hrebelnyk, Liubov Zharova
    • Investigation
      Liudmyla Deineko, Oleksandr Hrebelnyk, Olena Tsyplitska
    • Methodology
      Liudmyla Deineko, Liubov Zharova, Olena Tsyplitska
    • Project administration
      Liudmyla Deineko, Liubov Zharova
    • Writing – review & editing
      Liudmyla Deineko, Liubov Zharova
    • Formal Analysis
      Oleksandr Hrebelnyk, Olena Tsyplitska, Nadiia Grebeniuk
    • Supervision
      Oleksandr Hrebelnyk
    • Data curation
      Liubov Zharova, Nadiia Grebeniuk
    • Validation
      Liubov Zharova, Olena Tsyplitska, Nadiia Grebeniuk
    • Writing – original draft
      Liubov Zharova, Olena Tsyplitska
    • Visualization
      Olena Tsyplitska, Nadiia Grebeniuk