Do ICTs Matter for Italy?
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) impact the communities in which we live and the way individuals, business, government and civil society interact and develop. Simultaneously, all sectors have shown increased interest in the concept of social capital and the role it could play in building stronger communities, increasing economic productivity and contributing to regional rejuvenation. Thus, ICTs and social capital concept interlink with each other in a variety of ways. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between ICTs and social capital through the study of the relative’s disparities among Italian regions. This paper provides an operational definition of the concepts of ICT and social capital and presents consistent evidence on the geography of this relationship in Italy. The statistical and geographical analysis, based on non-linear clustering with self-organizing map (SOM) neural networks, are performed to analyse the performance of Italian regions in the period 2006–2013. The results show the isolation of Southern Italian regions. In particular, we found that ICTs may not promote social capital, that is, ICTs could not play a decisive role in creating and developing social capital. These results prompt the formulation of new policies for Italian regions.
KeywordsICT Neural networks Regional performance
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