Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Global Digital Peripheries: The Social Capital Profile of Low‐Adopter Countries

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Abstract:  As digital transformations have the potential to reinforce longstanding inequalities and create novel ones within and among societies, it is vital to understand how this process is socially embedded. This article contributes to the study of macro‐level patterns of cross‐country differences in digitalization by providing a global comparative analysis of 76 countries in three different clusters, with a focus on the almost 30 countries with the lowest rates of adoption. Going beyond the “access, use, outcome” perspective of the digital divide approach, this empirical analysis addresses the social embeddedness of digitalization in the framework of the three types of social capital. In contrast to the digitalized and the digitalizing country clusters, the findings on the social capital profile of low‐adopter societies reveal their consistently low status on bridging and linking social capital, as well as their strengths in the trust and ties dimensions of bonding social capital. These results have alarming implications for digital inclusion in low‐adopter societies.

Keywords:  bonding social capital; bridging social capital; cross‐country analysis; digital divide; digital transformation; linking social capital; low‐adopter; social embeddedness; trust



© Katalin Füzér, Bence Völgyi, Dávid Erát, László Szerb. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.