Innovation in Internet Technology and Policy to Further Social and Economic Inclusion
(Innovations in Science and Technology)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The panel’s theme is how innovations in communications and Internet technology and policy regarding it can help to reduce—or perpetuate the harm of—social and economic disparities among vulnerable groups in the United States. Two of the papers focus on positive aspects of the Internet to reduce disparities. The paper by Merry explores how mobile broadband technology can expand access to financial services to serve more financially vulnerable groups. The paper by Prieger looks at how broadband Internet available in the local areas can facilitate entrepreneurship in minority and low-income areas. However, if uneven availability of access to broadband raises new barriers to digital inclusion, then disparities endured by disadvantaged households may be perpetuated. The other two papers explore this aspect. The work by Daum focuses on the Los Angeles area and finds that competition among broadband service providers mostly benefited higher-income areas, and largely bypassed block groups with higher shares of Latino residents. Flamm investigates similar questions, but across the entire U.S., and with a more in-depth characterization of the broadband deployment picture.
Our panel embraces the conference theme of Rising to the Challenge: Engaging Diverse Perspectives on Issues and Evidence. The participants bring the varied experiences of diverse backgrounds to the panel. The academic disciplines and training of the participants include public policy, urban planning and development, economics, mathematics, and science and technology policy. Our panel includes participation by women and men, minorities and others, people born in the U.S. and abroad. We also strove to include individuals at different stages in the career lifecycle, from graduate students to distinguished full professors. Some participants are academics, while others work in the federal government or for research institutes.
Final note: if there are extra volunteers at the conference for discussing papers, we would welcome an additional discussant.