Thanks are extended to Giorgio Albareto, Guglielmo Barone, Luigi Cannari, Massimo Omiccioli, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, and three anonymous referees for suggestions and to Diego Caprara and Christine Stone for editorial assistance. The author also benefited from the comments of participants at the Bank of Italy “Seminario di analisi economica territoriale”, Rome 2006, the 46th ERSA Conference, Volos 2006, and the XXI AIEL Conference, Udine 2006. The views expressed in the paper are those of the author and do not necessarily correspond to those of the Bank of Italy.
Urban–Rural Differences in Internet Usage, e-Commerce, and e-Banking: Evidence from Italy
Article first published online: 6 MAY 2008
© 2008 Blackwell Publishing
Growth and Change
Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 341–367, June 2008
How to Cite
DE BLASIO, G. (2008), Urban–Rural Differences in Internet Usage, e-Commerce, and e-Banking: Evidence from Italy. Growth and Change, 39: 341–367. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2257.2008.00422.x
- Issue published online: 6 MAY 2008
- Article first published online: 6 MAY 2008
- Submitted February 2007; revised August 2007, October 2007; accepted November 2007.
ABSTRACT By reducing the cost of performing isolated economic activities in remote areas, information technology might serve as a substitute for urban agglomeration. The paper assesses this hypothesis using data on Italian households' usage of the Internet, e-commerce, and e-banking. The results do not support the argument that the Internet reduces the role of distance. Internet usage is much more frequent among urban consumers than among their non-urban counterparts. The use of e-commerce is basically unaffected by the size of the city where the household lives. Geographically remote consumers are discouraged from purchasing goods by the fact that they cannot inspect them beforehand. Leisure activities and cultural items (i.e., books, CDs, and tickets for museums and theaters) are the only goods and services for which e-commerce is used more in isolated areas. Finally, e-banking bears no relationship to city size. In choosing a bank, non-urban customers give more importance to personal acquaintance than do urban clients, partly because bank account holders in remote areas are more likely to have taken out a loan from their bank.