Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Digital inequality is one of the most critical issues in the knowledge economy. Governments, businesses, and the public have devoted tremendous resources to address such inequality, yet the results are inconclusive. Theoretical understanding, complemented with theory-based empirical assessment of the phenomenon, is essential to inform effective policy-making and intervention. The context of our investigation is a city government project known as the LaGrange Internet TV initiative that allowed all city residents to access the Internet via their cable TVs at no additional cost. We examine the residents’ acceptance behavior through the lens of the theory of planned behavior (TPB), which focuses on attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, as explanatory variables of innovation decisions. The theoretical focus of TPB is expanded to include exposure to innovation. Furthermore, we elaborate potential behavioral differences between privileged and underprivileged adopters. The results of the multigroup analysis reveal different behavioral models between the two groups. Enjoyment and confidence in using information and communication technologies (ICT) and accessibility are more influential in shaping ICT innovation decisions for the underprivileged than the privileged. The privileged group has a higher tendency to respond to exposure to innovation and may adopt ICT faster than the underprivileged. Implications are discussed for policy-making and theoretical development.


Originally published in:

J.J. Po-An Hsieh, Mark Keil, and Arun Rai, "Understanding Digital Inequality," Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Les Vegas, NV, USA, December 11-14, 2005.