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E-Government for low socio-economic status groups


Information and communications technology provides governments with new and powerful tools, which enable better and faster communications with the citizens. Recently, many governments are undertaking large and complex endeavours of developing e-Government services. However, the use of e-Government by the citizens is still voluntary. Thus, readiness of citizens to participate in e-Government becomes a crucial factor in the process. Usage of services depends on various factors such as ease of use, proficiency, accessibility and civic engagement. In most countries there are several disadvantaged groups that are less likely to use services.

These groups include elderly people, disabled people, immigrants and low socioeconomic groups (LSG). Since the computer usage by LSG is very low, web-based e-Government services are not available to a relatively large segment of European citizens. The pace at which countries deploy e-Government services, including measures taken to include LSG, vary considerably across Europe. Excluding such populations from e-Government is a major cause of the digital divide within European countries. The main objective of ELOST is to increase readiness to e-Government and civic engagement among LSG. ELOST aims to increase the number of people from this class that will use e-Government services as active citizens. ELOST will perform a multinational study on the policies and plans to introduce e-Government to LSG. Special attention will be given to age and gender aspects.

The objectives are to study the status of e-Government services and tools for LSG in European countries. ELOST will evaluate the attitudes, needs and readiness of LSG by means of questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. A foresight study will analyze the impact of emerging technologies on e-Government services. A cross-cultural analysis will be performed. The findings will lead to policy recommendations for effective and inclusive deployment of e-Government services in Europe.

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