The reverse impact of information and communication technologies on the process of socio-economic development

Document Type : Original Article




The existence of information and communication technology infrastructures such as landline phones, mobile phones, internet and broadband has made it possible for individuals, companies and governments to have better access to information, knowledge and technical skills on a large scale and at high speed. Hence, it is argued that the development of information and communication technology has fundamentally improved the efficiency of resource allocation, markedly reduced production costs, which are a constant concern of companies, and increasingly provided opportunities for investment in all economic sectors.
ICT is one of the top four industries in the category of healthcare, agriculture and public services due to its wide applicability in various businesses. Especially, the speed of its penetration and widespread use by the mass of people, along with the aforementioned characteristics and potentials, have caused many governments to prepare extensive programs to improve the level of health, education and government services to citizens by creating funds for the development of the infrastructure of the information and communication technology industry. Allocation of financial resources and changes in existing laws and regulations are part of these programs.
Due to the increasing importance of information and communication technology in global developments, researchers have paid great attention to the development effects at the national and business levels. There is a general consensus in the literature that technologies have a broad positive effect on economic and social development. This tendency has led to extensive measures to use information and communication technology for development goals such as economic growth, wealth production, wealth distribution, poverty reduction, expansion of educational opportunities, promotion of health services and access to public/government services.  Although related literature emphasizes its key role in accelerating economic growth, some researchers' arguments emphasize mixed results. While some writers point to a positive effect in developed countries, others do not consider this to be a general rule. They believe, especially in underdeveloped regions, the effects are negative.
Based on these two different approaches, this article deals with the impact of information and communication technology on development. Based on a theoretical background, first of all, it is argued that communication is the basis of change and development of human society. Hence, the development of new technologies is associated with developmental consequences. Then, based on the empirical evidence regarding the penetration and expansion of digital technologies in the current world, it is suggested, these technologies cause extensive developmental consequences, mainly due to the higher intensity and speed of their impact. It is concluded that although information and communication technology apparently have positive development effects, their expansion, like other technologies, has social and environmental side effects that are rooted in the structure of the industry itself, the existing unequal social structure, and the facilitation of criminal and illicit activities.


Main Subjects

تافلر، الوین (1363). موج سوم. ترجمه شهیندخت خوارزمی. تهران: نشر فرهنگ نو.
چلبی، مسعود (1375). جامعه‌شناسی نظم: تشریح و تحلیل نظری نظم اجتماعی. تهران: نشر نی.
جغتایی، محمدعلی و همتی، فریده (1380). سیاست اجتماعی. تهران: انتشارات سازمان بهزیستی کشور.
راجرز، ام. اورت و شومیکر، فلوید (1376). رسانش نوآوری‌ها: رهیافتی میان فرهنگی. ترجمه عزت‌الله کرمی‌و ابوطالب فنایی. شیراز: انتشارات دانشگاه شیراز.
شکوری، علی (1399). کووید 19 و نابرابری اجتماعی: با تأکید بر شکاف دیجیتالی. مجله جهانی رسانه - نسخه فارسی. 15(1): 99-130.
شکوری، علی (1380). پژوهشی در توسعه و نابرابری در مناطق روستایی (روستاهای برگزیده شهرستان مرند). پژوهش‌های جغرافیایی، 33 (41): 53-69.
Bauer, J. M. (2018). The Internet and income inequality: Socio-economic challenges in a hyperconnected society. Telecommunications Policy, 42(4), 333-343.
Das, S., Munshi, M. N., & Kabir, W. (2016). The impact of ICTs on agricultural production in Bangladesh: A study with food crops. SAARC Journal of Agriculture, 14(2), 78- 89.
de Marcellis-Warin, N., Munoz, J. M., and Warin, T. (2020). Coronavirus and the widening educational digital divide: The perfect storm for inequalities?, available at,
Digital divide council (2022). available at:
Emery, F. and Trist, E. (1971). Personal management and orgnisatio development. Houghton: Mifflin.
Fergusen, J. (19990). The anti-politics machine: development and bureaucratic power in Lesptho. Cambridge University Press.
Gerster, R., & Zimmermann, S. (2003). Information and communication technologies (ICTs) and poverty reduction in Sub Saharan Africa: a learning study (Synthesis). Switzerland: Gerster Consulting.
Grimes, Arthur, Cleo Ren, and Philip Stevens (2012). The need for speed: Impacts of internet connectivity on firm productivityS. Journal of Productivity Analysis, 37, 187–201.
Han, B., Wang, D., Ding, W., & Han, L. (2016). Effect of information and communication technology on energy consumption in China. Natural Hazards, 84(1), 297-315.
Higón, D. A., Gholami, R., & Shirazi, F. (2017). ICT and environmental sustainability: A global perspective. Telematics and Informatics, 34(4), 85-95.
ILO Laborsta,; analysis by the author.
Inklaar, Robert, Mary O’Mahony, and Marcel Timmer (2005). ICT and Europe’s productivity performance: Industry-level growth account comparisons with the United States. Review of Income and Wealth, 51, 505–36.
Kamande, M., & Nafula, N. (2016). The welfare effects of ICTs in agricultural markets: A case of selected countries in East Africa (No. 35). International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
katz, RL. (2009). Estimating broadband demand and its economic impact in Latin America. Available from
kemp, S. (2022). Time Spent Using Connected Tech Continues to Rise. Available at:
Koutroumpis, Pantelis (2009). The economic impact of broadband on growth: A simultaneous approach. Telecommunications Policy, 33, 471–85.
Kozma RB (2005). Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT for Education Impact: A Review. In: Wagner DA et al., eds. Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT in Education Projects: A Handbook for Developing Countries.infoDev. Available from
Lee, Sang H., John Levendis, and Luis Gutierrez (2012). Telecommunications and economic growth: An empirical analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa. Applied Economics, 44, 461–69.
Linton, R. (1936). The study of man? New York: Appleton-Century-Crafts.
OECD (2010). Users more innovative? An analysis of ICT-enabled innovation in OECD firms. DSTI/ICCP/IIS (2010)8/REV1.
Pradhan, Rudra P., Mallik Girijasankar, and Tapan P. Bagchi (2018). Information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and economic growth: A causality evinced by cross-country panel data. IIMB Management Review 30, 91–103.
Rislana, K., Good, A., Adams, C., & Scott, P. (2018). The role of ICT education and training in poverty reduction and economic empowerment: A case study of jigawa state government ICT4D intervention: EJEG. Electronic Journal of E-Government, 16(1), 1-17.
Sadorsky, P. (2012). Information communication technology and electricity consumption in emerging economies. Energy Policy, 48, 130- 136.
Samoilenko, S. (2020). Filp side of the coin: negative socio-economic implications of ICT. Business and Economic Research, 10 (2), 1-23.
Sassi, Seifallah, and Mohamed Goaied. 2013. Financial development, ICT diffusion and economic growth: Lessons from MENA region. Telecommunications Policy, 37, 252–61.
Shakoori, A. (2019). Rural Development in Iran: A Survey of Policies and Outcomes. Journal of Developing societies, 35 (3), 346-366. 
Sharma, P., (2011). Impact of Information Technology on The Development of Rural Economy of India. International Journal of Information Technology and Knowledge Management, 4, 187-190.
Sharma, P., (2011). Impact of Information Technology on The Development of Rural Economy of India. International Journal of Information Technology and Knowledge Management, 4, 187-190.
UNCTAD (2007). Information economy report 2007-2008: Science and technology for development. the new paradigm of ICT. United Nations. New York and Geneva.
United Nations (2020). World social reports: Inequality in rapidly changing world. Dep. of economic and social affairs, retrieved from content/uploads/sites/22/2020/01/World-Social-Report-2020-FullReport.pdf
Vu, Khuong M. (2011). ICT as a source of economic growth in the information age: Empirical evidence from the 1996–2005 period. Telecommunications Policy, 35, 357–72.
Wang, D., & Han, B. (2016). The impact of ICT investment on energy intensity across different regions of China. Journal of renewable and sustainable energy, 8(5), 055901.
World Economic Forum (2020). Coronavirus has exposed the digital divide like never before, available from,
World Inequality Lab (2017). World Inequality Report 2018. Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (coordinators). Paris: World Inequality Lab.
Yılmaz, R., & Koyuncu, C. (2019). The impact of ICT penetration on deforestation: A panel data evidence. Review of Economic Perspectives, 19(4), 345-364.
Yousefi, Ayoub (2011). The impact of information and communication technology on economic growth: Evidence from developed and developing countries. Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 20, 581–96.
Zhang, C., & Liu, C. (2015). The impact of ICT industry on CO2 emissions: a regional analysis in China. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 44, 12- 19.
Zhou, W., Zhu, B., Li, Q., Ma, T., Hu, S., & Griffy-Brown, C. (2010). CO2 emissions and mitigation potential in China’s ammonia industry. Energy Policy, 38(7), 3701-3709.