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Strengthening EU digital competitiveness. Stoking the engine

Concerns over declining EU competitiveness in the digital world in comparison to that of our global rivals have been widespread for many years. The EU has substantial research capabilities and skills, and has produced...

The debate surrounding the digital divide originated in the late 1990s, aiming to address the disparities in infrastructural access to the Internet and the associated opportunities between developed and developing nations. Initially, the main definition of digital divide was conceived as the dichotomous distinction between individuals who ‘have’ or ‘do not have’ access to the Internet. More recently, literature has increasingly employed the term ‘digital inequality’ to encapsulate the adverse effects of digital technologies on marginalised social groups, delineated by factors such as race, class, and gender. These technologies have the potential to exacerbate existing social inequities or give rise to new forms of exclusion.

The study analyses the impact of digital transformation on different social groups to assess the emergence of new digital inequalities in Europe. Employing both quantitative data and three detailed case studies, the study analyses the extent of the digital divide concerning access to e-commerce, digital financial services, and information.

Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the behest of the PETI Committee, this study seeks to provide nuanced insights into the evolving landscape of digital inequalities within Europe.

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