Information Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean

Development of Technologies and Technologies for Development


This book analyses the development of information societies in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and provides input for public policy on information and communications technologies (ICT) issues. 

– The first part of the book presents the theoretical concepts that inform it, based on an evolutionary view of technical progress, innovation and development. This section of the book examines the nature and causes of international and domestic digital divides, and details the results of quantitative exercises to measure the impact of ICT on economic growth and productivity in the region. Given this analytical approach, special importance is placed on technological variables and on the complementarities resulting from the coevolution of technological, economic, social and institutional structures.

– The second part of the book focuses on the development of technologies, specifically on the production of ICT goods and services, such as hardware, software and telecommunications providers. It supplements this analysis with an examination of issues such as telecommunications regulation and the debate on intellectual property rights in the context of ICT. The third part of the book examines advances in the field of technologies for development, especially ICT applications in areas such as education, public administration, business, disaster management and health. The fourth deals with public policies relating to the development of ICT and to ICT for development in the region, and describes ECLAC recommendations in this area.

– The recommendations cover seven areas: developing the complementarities necessary to ensure that ICT impact economic and social development; improving coordination in the use of scarce resources and foster initiatives to create synergies; continuing and strengthening intraregional cooperation;  transferring policy leadership from actors interested in ICT per se to those responsible for the areas in which the technologies are effectively employed; and strengthening the institutions responsible for policy implementation, in order to reduce the separation between the processes of policy-making and policy implementation in a field of fast innovation. In short, this book is framed by a recognition of the tension that exists between the demands of a fundamentally exogenous and accelerating technological revolution, and the productive and institutional structures of the region’s countries, whose paths of evolution have led to deficiencies which, in a context of great uncertainty, limit their ability to respond to the pressures of the digital paradigm.

Peres, W., & Hilbert, M. (Eds.). (2010). Information Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean: Development of Technologies and Technologies for Development (Vol. Santiago: United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Retrieved from

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