ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0008.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Econometrics And Statistics Keywords: Copula Regression; ICT resources; Middle East; Spatial Analysis; Students Well-being; Sustainable Development Goals
Online: 2 July 2020 (13:18:03 CEST)
Target 9.c of the 2015 United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs) specifically addresses increasing access to information and communication technology (ICT) resources, and striving for universal access to the internet by 2020. The present study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the youth related national strategies implemented in this regard by a select number of countries in the Middle East region. The study does so, by relying on a spatial bivariate copula regression analysis of data on youth respondents from five countries, extracted from the 2018 Program for international students’ assessment (PISA). Focusing specifically on evaluating the availability of ICT resources to the youth population, and also identifying the impact of ICT resources on youth subjective well-being in the region, we find that except for the UAE and Qatar that have above OECD average youth performance on the ICT resource index, youth from the remaining countries reported below OECD level average access to ICT resources. The within region cross-country comparative analysis of ICT resources availability to the youth population at home, also highlighted significant heterogeneity across the five countries, post 2015 SDG adoption by UN country members. Furthermore, looking at the impact of ICT resources on youth well-being, controlling for not only cross-country spatial correlations, and factors such as home educational resources, cultural possessions at home, parental occupation status, youth expected occupation status, economic and socio-cultural status, age, gender, and grade level in school; we found that every standard deviation increase in ICT resources to the youth population in the region raises their self-expressed sense of belonging in school by 1.88% standard deviations. Given the empowering nature of ICT resources to youth, and the potential of both to support national as well as regional economic development initiatives, a concerted effort to ease ICT resources diffusion by member countries in the middle east region could assist not only each country in its own development path, but also the region as a whole to live up to its growth potential by the 2030.