Enhancing Competitiveness: A Study on Income Level Groups and Networked Readiness Index
Florenz C. Tugas, CISA, CPA

The promise information and communication technology (ICT) offers to this era of rapid change is too good to be underemphasized. For a particular economy, this translates to the propensity, measured by the networked readiness index (NRI), to survive in an environment where competition dictates the pace. The NRI index aims to describe how conducive a national environment is to exploiting ICT resources for development. According to Wallsten (2005), richer countries have better access to ICT than poorer countries making the people of the former exploit ICT more for economic development. As such, this study aims to empirically determine the effect of income level groups to a country’s NRI. The Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 (GITR or “the report”) published by INSEAD and World Economic Forum (WEF) served as the main reference for NRI in this study. The Report grouped the participating countries into four income level groups based on the classification by the World Bank. These are: (1) high income (HI); (2) upper-middle income (UM); (3) lower-middle (LM) income; and (4) low income (LO). The Report presented comprehensive assessments of ICT readiness covering 133 economies from the developing and developed world. Of these countries, four have incomplete economic profiles. This resulted in having only 129 useful countries-observations for this study. Comparing and contrasting the networked readiness indexes of 129 countries based on income level groups with LO as the base, results showed that income level group has a significant effect on NRI (β = .997, .353, .191, p < .05). In fact, the networked readiness indexes of the four income level groups significantly differ among each other. Several implications, conclusions, and recommendations related to income level groups and NRI were drawn out of these findings.

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