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Overselling the Web?: Development and the Internet

Charles Kenny
Overselling the Web?: Development and the Internet
ISBN: 978-1-58826-458-9
2006/160 pages/LC: 2006006309
iPolitics: Global Challenges in the Information Age

"Kenny skillfully demonstrates that providing Internet access to all citizens of developing countries will reap few benefits.... [An] exceptionally well-thought-out work."—Library Journal

"An important cautionary tale.... Kenny demonstrates that the irrational exuberance directed toward the internet as a tool for international development needs serious tempering."—Michael Best, Georgia Institute of Technology


Opinion leaders in government and business routinely tout the Internet's power as a force for economic and social development, and programs designed to bridge the digital divide are springing up across the developing world. Many questions remain, however, about the effectiveness of such programs in fostering greater productivity and improving quality of life. Overselling the Web? offers a much needed antidote to the Internet hype touting the promise of new technologies.

Drawing on macroeconomic data as well as eye-opening anecdotes, Charles Kenny underscores the trade-offs and constraints inherent in the new communications technology. His work raises serious questions about the advisability of channeling scarce investment funds into the Internet when countries are confronting more basic challenges in the realm of education, health, and infrastructure.


Charles Kenny is senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and author most recently of Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding and How We Can Improve the World Even More.


  • Will the Internet Change the World?
  • The Link Between Technology and Growth.
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the Industrialized World.
  • ICT in the Developing World.
  • Experiments with E-Government in Developing Countries.
  • Sustainable Policies for E-Development.
  • Confronting the Costs.