Is financial wealth leading to high quality government services?

August 6, 2010

It is natural to assume that financial wealth leads to better government. It is further reasonable to expect that wealthy countries have higher quality of the e-government services compared to countries with less financial wealth. But how much does the finances alone influence quality e-government services? This short study gives a peek of how finances affects e-government services.

UN E-government 2010 report

In this study the data used for quality of e-government services is the E–Government Development Index (E-readiness score) from the United Nations E-Government Survey 2010. Thus, it is directly assumed that a government with high quality e-government services will receive a high score, and visa versa. The remaining data used is from the World Bank Data Catalog.

The following figure presents a box plot of the differences between the E–Government Development Index of Developing and Developed countries. The plot shows that developing countries have in average score of 0.4 while developed countries have an average score of about 0.7. Furthermore, all developing countries have scores less than 0.7, while all the developed countries have a score higher than 0.5. Thus based on the United Nations E–Government Development Index score it is, not surprisingly, significant difference between e-government services in developing and developed countries.

Developing countries have in average of 0.4 while developed countries have an average of about 0.7. All the developing countries have e-readiness score less than 0.7 while all the developed countres have a score higher than 0.5.

E-readiness score versus developing and developed countires.

Thus, the quality is clearly dependant on the finances, but how much of the quality e-Government services are influenced by finances alone?

The development of government services is complex procedure shaped by many factors. There exists no general conclusion of which factors influence the quality of the government service. It is however possible to determine to what extent data from the financial situation in a country can be used to predict the e-readiness score.

The following graph presents the plot between E–Government Development Index and GNI per capita. The graph also includes a regression, which can be used to calculate the E–Government Development Index based on the GNI per capita alone.

A dotplot showing the trends between E-readiness and GNI per capita.

E-readiness versus GNI per capita

The trends in the data are clearly visible. The regression can be seen as the black line, the mean response is shows as a green dashed line while the prediction interval is presented as the blue dashed line.

The regression line (black line) shows the relationship between the E–Government Development Index and GNI per capita. If no correlation existed between the two data sets, the line would be completely horizontall. The regression line can be used to predict the E–Government Development Index using only the GNI per capita. The graphs shows us that the relationship is not linear, but more complex.
The mean response interval (green dashed line) tells the estimated mean of the data.
The prediction interval (blue dashed line) tells where future data is expected be located (similar to confidence interval).

The data shows that the mean response interval and prediction interval changes as the GNI per capita increases. Generally, we are more certain of the prediction when these intervals are small. From this we can draw the following conclusion. It is relatively easy to predict the E-readiness score when a country has a low GNI per capita. In contrast, to predict the E-readiness score based on the GNI Per Capita alone for wealthy countries is a lot less precise. I.e. lack of finances generally means low quality services, while wealth alone is not sufficient to ensure quality in e-government.


United Nations Global E-Government Survey 2010

April 15, 2010

UN E-government 2010 reportThe United Nations Global E-government Survey 2010 is now available. This fifth UN E-government survey focuses on e-government at a time of financial and economic crises.

The first part of the report is a discussion on ways e-government can mitigate the effects of the financial crises on development. It sees e-government in the light of the following United Nations priorities:

  1. Stimulus funds, transparency and public trust. By October 2009 the financial stimulus packages summed up to about one third of the gross world income. At the same time, the trust in banks decreased.
  2. Roles of e-government in financial regulation and monitoring. Government deploy ICT as a response to the financial crises which has the potential to improve the policy making process.
  3. E-service delivery and how it relates to the millennium development goals including how e-government poverty eradication, education, gender-inclusive approach to service delivery.

The second part is the results from the global survey. As previously, this includes the e-government ranking of the United Nations member states, regions and comparisons to the previous survey. Additionally, the second part includes the e-participation ranking and a (superficial) methodology section.

Please see the official page for more details.


The impact of the Finacial Crisis on eGovernment

March 11, 2010

A very interesting presentation has been made available discussing the impacts of the recent financial crisis on the eGovernment in Denmark. (Adam Grønlykke Mollerup, The economic and financial crisis: Impact on e-government in Denmark?)

The study claims, as can be expected, that more strict economy meant increased budged deficits, fall in investments, and decreased productivity.

Much more interesting is the impact it had on eGovernment in the country. According to the presentation the recent financial recession, and the measures taken accordingly, had a positive impact on the eGovernment, namely:

  • Increased awareness on the necessity of efficient use of eGovernment.
  • More focus has on eGovernment performance, including measurements of the actual outcome.
  • More focus on larger eGovernment domains such as whole government approaches.
  • Readiness for larger investment.

I have unfortunately only been able the find the presentation of this study (Adam Grønlykke Mollerup, The economic and financial crisis: Impact on e-government in Denmark?). In this presentation, the findings are not discussed in any details. More elaborate argumentations for the findings would have been very useful.