How Digital Technologies Affect the Quality of Life
HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge presents the indicators of Russians’ ‘digital well-being’, measured with the use of the OECD methodology.
67% of the population in developed countries believe digital technologies have a positive impact on their life and well-being1. In order to measure people’s well-being, the OECD Better Life Index is commonly used, a complex index which distinguishes between 11 dimensions of well-being that are of vital importance for everyone (such as health, education, income, social connections, etc.).
In 2017 Russia ranked 33rd out of 40 counties by the Better Life Index (Fig. 1). The best results were achieved in such areas as work-life balance (8.3, that is comparable with the Swiss position), education and jobs (6.8 for both indicators, similar to UK and France), and social connections (5.7 — like in Japan).
Figure 1. OECD Quality of Life Ranking: 2017
In 2019 the OECD for the first time measured so called digital well-being’ by estimating the impacts of the digital transformation on key 11 dimensions that influence the quality of people’s life through creating new opportunities or generating new risks2. Based on the OECD methodology, the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) has analysed ‘digital well-being’ in Russia using similar available indicators (15 indicators of opportunities, and 5 indicators of risks)3.
The study has revealed particularly good outcomes in such areas as ICT access (76.6% of households have access to the Internet, about 84% of the adult population use the Internet at least once a year), socialisation (62.9% of Russians use social networks), electronic government (54.5% of population use relevant service), and equipment of schools with digital resources (79.1% of schools have relevant equipment) (Fig. 2).
Risk- indicators in most cases remain insignificant: e.g. about 3% of population only reported they couldn’t use e-government services because of the lack of appropriate skills. However, there is a number of areas where there is still scope for improvement. Inequality of use of the Internet is high (88.9%), among other things due to a significant digital skills divide. In addition, a quarter of Russian teachers report lacking necessary ICT skills.
Figure 2. Digital well-being in Russia: 2019 (%)
Explanations for Fig. 2:
* Cyberbullying: online slander **
Variety of uses of Internet: the number of Internet activities used by more than 50% of the population in the age group between 15-74 as percentage of total number of Internet activities considered (9 in total).
*** Inequality of use of Internet: Difference between the number of activities that are used by fast adopters (25% of the population) and the number of activities used by a broader public (more than 50% of individuals), as percentage of total number of Internet activities (9 in total).
In general, the level of ‘digital well-being’ in Russia is comparable to an average level of developed countries, and in some areas is even outperforming them (e.g. in equipment with digital resources in schools). At the same time, online job search is less popular in Russia than in most OECD countries (6.3% vs 16.2%), as well as online education (2.5% v 11%) (Fig. 3).
Figure 3. Digital opportunities and risks in Russia and OECD countries: 2019* (%)
HSE ISSEK calculations based on Rosstat, Eurostat, OECD data; results of the project ‘Preparation of Methodological, Informational and Analytical Materials on Digital Economy Indicators’ implemented in the framework of the research plan prescribed by the State Assignment for HSE.
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