Valuation of public access to information and communication technology: A benefit-cost analysis approach

Abstract

This report is an attempt to quantify the value that individuals in five countries place on public access to three types of information and communication technology (ICT). I use two types of benefit cost analysis, stated preference and revealed preference, to estimate these values from users, and non-users of the ICT venues. I draw upon data from four surveys in five countries conducted in 2010 and 2011, with data from over 5,000 users, over 1,000 non-users, and over 1,000 random digit dial cell phone surveys in Chile. From these data, I provide generalizations about how demographic and geographic characteristics predict differences in the value that both users and non-users, in both rural and urban settings, place on access to libraries, internet cafés, and telecenters. I find consistently higher travel cost revealed preference than stated preference in Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile and Ghana. I find greatest willingness to pay for internet cafés in the lower per capita income countries of the Philippines, Ghana, and Bangladesh, and greatest willingness to pay for libraries in the higher per capita countries of Chile and Brazil. In Chile I find libraries valued the greatest at $48 (USD PPP), then internet cafes at $17, and telecenters at $7. Women have greater average willingness to pay than men across all venues. These findings are the first effort to quantify the benefits of public access to ICT across multiple contexts, as well as the first to use mixed methods to bound estimates of value. The objective of this report is to inform the allocation of support for public access to ICT by governmental and non-governmental policy makers.

Recommended Citation

Davis, T.B. 2014. Valuation of public access to information and communication technology: A benefit-cost approach. Global Impact Study Research Report Series. Seattle, WA: TASCHA.