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How's Life in the Digital Age?

Opportunities and Risks of the Digital Transformation for People's Well-being

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This report documents how the ongoing digital transformation is affecting people’s lives across the 11 key dimensions that make up the How’s Life? Well-being Framework (Income and wealth, Jobs and earnings, Housing, Health status, Education and skills, Work-life balance, Civic engagement and governance, Social connections, Environmental quality, Personal security, and Subjective well-being). A summary of existing studies highlights 39 key impacts of the digital transformation on people’s well-being. The review shows that these impacts can be positive as digital technologies expand the boundaries of information availability and enhance human productivity, but can also imply risks for people’s well-being, ranging from cyber-bullying to the emergence of disinformation or cyber-hacking. In sum, making digitalisation work for people’s well-being would require building equal digital opportunities, widespread digital literacy and strong digital security. Continued research and efforts in improving statistical frameworks will be needed to expand our knowledge on the many topics covered in this report.

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Comparing well-being in the digital age across OECD countries

This chapter combines the indicators presented in the previous chapter into two synthetic indices of digital risks and digital opportunities. These indices are found to be non-correlated with each other, implying that increased digital opportunities are not necessarily associated to higher digital risks. Digital opportunities are found to be highly correlated with access to ICT, which suggests that providing broad access is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to create opportunities. While digital risks are diverse in nature, the prevalence of digital security incidents is a powerful predictor of other digital risks, as countries’ digital maturity and digital strategies can reduce all digital risks while increasing digital security. As analysis based on available indicators is limited due to the lack of harmonised data, this chapter also discuss the statistical agenda going forward.

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