First Advisor

Dundar F. Kocaoglu

Term of Graduation

Spring 2005

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Engineering Management


Systems Science: Engineering Management




Communication of technical information -- Costa Rica, Digital divide -- Costa Rica, Economic development -- Costa Rica, Information technique -- Costa Rica



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, x, 341 pages)


Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as Wireless, the Internet, and e-commerce software are profoundly impacting how business and government are conducted. Digital divide (DD) refers to the gap that opens up between those who have access to, benefit and interact with ICTs and those who can not. ICTs can either accelerate change and thereby increase the DD in developing countries, or, if deployed carefully can be a tool to reduce the DD within a country. This study presents a systematic approach for doing the latter by identifying the ICTs, technology applications and key sectors that most impact the internal digital divide in developing countries. The specific case study is Costa Rica.

The methodology selected for conducting this study is the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), and the model is based on the United Nations Development Program report titled “Creating a Development Dynamic: Final Report of the Digital Opportunity”, concepts from the literature and expert judgments. A four level hierarchical decision model has been developed using weights provided by an expert panel. The model computes the contribution of ICTs and ICTs applications to the reduction of the DD, through the reduction of the DD in key sectors. The model was developed for 2003 and 2010.

The study found that a reduction of the DD in the education sector would have the highest impact followed by the DD in the economic, government and health sectors. Education and government applications have the highest impact on reducing the DD, due to their focus on innovation and creativity, enhancing the education process through ICTs use as well as improving the efficiency of public administration. In 2003, the ICTs with the highest impact are: land-based devices, general-purpose software, the Internet content and infrastructure. The impact of collaborative tools increases dramatically from 2003 to 2010, suggesting that the role of technology in 2010 will be distinctively oriented toward Internet mobility and collaboration.

In addition to developing a general modeling approach for prioritizing ICTs, this research provides the Costa Rican government officials with a solid basis for making important policy decisions related to reducing DD.


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