An interesting new paper argues that regulatory policies cause the differences across countries. The abstract:
The rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has created an environment for citizens to have greater access to their government and to make citizen-to-government contact more inclusive. Previous research does not examine the impact of national public policy initiatives that expand and improve e-government services. This study examines the global divide in e-government implementation by analysing the impact of national policies on the United Nations’ Web Measure Index in 174 countries. A multiple regression analysis shows that e-governance is more extensive in countries that have a regulatory authority for telecommunications, encourage competition in their telecommunication industries and invest more financially in the development of ICTs.
Tony Bertelli and I argued in the British Journal of Political Science that having a regulatory authority for telecommunications is a useful measure of regulatory independence, which causes perceptions of regulatory quality. Having an independent telecoms regulator, though, is associated with measures of democratization.
All this means is that democratization eventually causes e-government implementation. Not surprising!