The case for a multi-methodological, cross-disciplinary approach to the analysis of ICT investment and projects in the developing world
Type of work: Article (academic)
This article makes the case for greater collaboration and communication between scholars and practitioners of information communications technology (ICT) for development projects and for the use of multi-methodological, cross-disciplinary approaches to understand what will make for more successful endeavors in this important arena, the necessity of which is reflected in the widespread use of public-private partnerships. To this end, we utilize both macro- and micro-level analyses to examine ICT investment in the developing world. The first research question - can ICT investment be shown to contribute to economic growth? - is addressed through econometric analysis. Though our model finds evidence to the affirmative, macro-level models often do not account for how ICT funds are employed, differentiate growth effects, or discern the characteristics of specific initiatives that make them more or less likely to succeed. This is where the case-study level of analysis becomes essential. This approach is used to address our second research question: whether successful strategies found among case studies can better inform policy prescription. To this end, we present a case study of a project based in rural Vietnam, followed by a summary of findings that unifies the lessons learned. In this way we intend to shed light on policy prescription, improve the outcomes of ICT initiatives, and present a first step in the mixed-methodological, cross-disciplinary direction.