E-government sophistication: a cross-sectional study of technological, economic and institutional factors
In view of the uneven development of e-government around the world, it is not unimagined that governments and scholars have started to question what influences its sophistication. The term sophistication captures the degree of service functionality as e-government evolves through a series of stages. A considerable body of the literature has examined indicators of technological, economic and institutional factors, which are likely to influence the sophistication of e-government. The majority of these studies have placed more emphasis on the analysis of a country’s technological and economic conditions only. Recognising that other factors might influence the sophistication of e-government, more recent studies are incorporating indicators of the institutional dimension into this analysis -i.e., the rules, norms and laws that shapes a country’s society.
However, e-government is not static, and the examination of these indicators across different sophistication levels has been ignored. Thus, the following study questions what the influence is from these indicators, and what differences exist between them across different degrees of e-government sophistication. To answer these questions, a two-step examination approach was undertaken utilising secondary sources from 142 countries around the globe. The first part of the study examined the influence of indicators of technological, economic and institutional factors –i.e., ICT infrastructure, GDP per capita, corruption control, press freedom and human capital – in the sophistication of e-government. A regression model was utilised for this first analysis. The second part evaluated with closer granularity these indicators across groups that represent the different levels of e-government sophistication. A Kruskal-Wallis test was undertaken to study these indicators across groups of high, medium and low degrees of sophistication.
The results from the regression analysis provide support to ICT infrastructure and human capital as significant indicators of the sophistication of e-government. For the second part of the analysis, with the exception of press freedom and human capital, differences across all groups were identified for the indicators ICT infrastructure, GDP per capita, and corruption control. Considering these findings, countries should take a closer examination to the indicators ICT infrastructure and human capital as potential indicators of higher levels of e-government sophistication. Also, countries need to examine their particular circumstances to understand the underlying causes that might influence the observed results across groups of e-government sophistication.