Distributed September 30, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Second annual Global e-Government Study

Taiwan, South Korea, Canada outpace United States in online services

Brown University’s second annual study of online services offered by the 198 nations of the world shows that Taiwan, South Korea and Canada have surpassed the United States, last year’s leader. The study analyzed nearly 1,200 governmental Web sites throughout the world. The full report is online.

PROVIDENCE, RI — A new study of global “e-government” undertaken by researchers at Brown University shows that Taiwan, South Korea and Canada have overtaken the United States in e-government performance.

The second annual Global e-Government Study, conducted by Darrell M. West, professor of political science and director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University, measured each country’s online presence using a 100-point scale based on more than two dozen criteria, including the availability of contact information, publications, databases, portals, privacy, security, disability access and the number of online services.

This year’s study reviewed 1,197 national government Web sites in 198 countries during June and July 2002. Among the sites analyzed were those of executive offices, legislative offices, judicial offices, cabinet offices and major agencies serving crucial functions of government such as health, human services, taxation, education, interior, economic development, administration, natural resources, foreign affairs, foreign investment, transportation, military, tourism and business regulation.

Where Web sites were not in English, the researchers employed foreign language readers who translated and evaluated the Web sites in the native language. In some cases, the research team used foreign language translation software to understand what was on the site.

The United States, last year’s global leader in digital government, dropped to fourth place (60.1) behind Taiwan (72.5), South Korea (64) and Canada (61.1). Chile moved up to fifth place with 60 points, followed by Australia with 58.3 points. The following table shows how each of the world’s 198 countries ranked on e-government performance in 2002.

International rankings for 2002

1. Taiwan72.565. Haiti44.0133. Portugal36.4
2. South Korea64.065. Iran44.0134. Antigua36.0
3. Canada61.165. Kenya44.0134. Chad36.0
4. United States60.165. Mozambique44.0134. Eritrea36.0
5. Chile60.065. Nepal44.0134. Honduras36.0
6. Australia58.365. Netherlands44.0134. Kazakhstan36.0
7. China56.365. Sudan44.0134. Kiribati36.0
8. Switzerland55.465. Thailand44.0134. Lesotho36.0
9. Great Britain54.865. Tunisia44.0134. Madagascar36.0
10. Singapore53.576. Croatia43.4134. North Korea36.0
11. Germany52.677. Armenia43.3134. Oman36.0
12. Bahrain52.078. Bosnia42.7134. Palau36.0
12. Fiji52.078. Guyana42.7134. Peru36.0
12. Japan52.080. Philippines42.4134. Rwanda36.0
12. Mexico52.081. Hungary42.3134. St. Kitts36.0
12. Qatar52.081. New Zealand42.3134. St. Vincent36.0
12. Togo52.083. Cape Verde42.0134. Samoa36.0
12. Vanuatu52.083. Romania42.0134. San Marino36.0
12. Vatican52.083. South Africa42.0134. Somaliland36.0
12. Zambia52.086. Argentina41.8134. Sao Tome36.0
21. Malaysia51.586. Brazil41.8134. Zimbabwe36.0
22. Hong Kong51.388. Slovenia41.7154. Brunei35.5
23. France50.989. Greece41.5155. Algeria35.2
23. Israel50.990. Azerbaijan41.3156. Myanmar34.9
25. Yemen50.091. Bulgaria41.1156. Cameroon34.9
26. Iceland49.892. Egypt41.0158. Albania34.0
27. Sweden49.193. Morocco40.9158. Comoros34.0
28. Finland48.894. Cambodia40.8158. Mali34.0
29. Lithuania48.494. Indonesia40.8161. Tanzania33.8
30. Italy48.396. Costa Rica40.7162. Iraq33.6
31. Belize48.097. Mauritius40.6163. Belarus33.2
31. Botswana48.098. Slovakia40.5164. Afghanistan32.0
31. Colombia48.099. Bahamas40.0164. Bolivia32.0
31. Cuba48.099. Cyprus (Turkish)40.0164. Cen. African Rep32.0
31. Estonia48.099. Djibouti40.0164. Equatorial Guinea32.0
31. Ireland48.099. Dominican Rep.40.0164. Gabon32.0
31. Liechtenstein48.099. Ethiopia40.0164. Gambia32.0
31. Maldives48.099. Jamaica40.0164. Ghana32.0
31. Marshall Isl.48.099. Laos40.0164. Kuwait32.0
31. Venezuela48.099. Liberia40.0164. Libya32.0
41. Norway47.799. Micronesia40.0164. Monaco32.0
42. Austria47.499. Moldova40.0164. Nicaragua32.0
43. St. Lucia47.399. Paraguay40.0164. Niger32.0
44. Malta47.299. Syria40.0164. Nigeria32.0
44. Uganda47.299. Tajikistan40.0164. Sierra Leone32.0
46. Denmark47.099. Tonga40.0164. Somalia32.0
46. Ecuador47.099. Tuvalu40.0164. Suriname32.0
46. El Salvador47.099. Yugoslavia40.0164. Ukraine32.0
46. Senegal47.0115. Panama39.5164. Uruguay32.0
50. Latvia46.9116. Seychelles39.0182. Solomon Islands30.4
51. Trinidad46.4117. Andorra39.0183. Niue30.0
52. Jordan46.3118. Cook Islands38.7184. Bangladesh29.3
53. Swaziland46.2118. Georgia38.7185. Bhutan28.0
54. Turkey46.0118. Guatemala38.7185. Congo Dem Rep28.0
55. Belgium45.3118. Sri Lanka38.7185. Ivory Coast 28.0
55. Malawi45.3122. Burkina Faso38.4185. Namibia28.0
55. Kyrgyzstan45.3123. Arab Emirates38.0185. Turkmenistan28.0
58. India45.1123. Barbados38.0190. Uzbekistan27.3
58. Macedonia45.1123. Cyprus-Republic38.0191. Benin26.0
58. Poland45.1123. Saudi Arabia38.0192. Papua N. Guinea25.3
61. Lebanon45.0123. Vietnam38.0193. Burundi24.0
62. Spain44.9128. Guinea37.3193. Congo (Rep)24.0
63. Czech Rep.44.6128. Mauritania37.3193. East Timor24.0
63. Luxembourg44.6130. Pakistan37.3193. Nauru24.0
65. Angola44.0131. Mongolia37.1197. Guinea-Bissau20.0
65. Grenada44.0132. Russia36.8198. Dominica16.0

Other findings of this research include:

  • 12 percent of government Web sites offered services that are fully executable online, up from 8 percent in 2001;
  • the most frequent services are ordering publications, making travel reservations, searching and applying for jobs, applying for passports, and renewing vehicle licenses;
  • 77 percent of Web sites provide access to publications and 83 percent have links to databases (the latter more than doubling from 41 percent in 2001);
  • 14 percent of government Web sites feature a one-stop services “portal” or have links to a government portal;
  • 14 percent of sites (up from 6 percent in 2001) show privacy policies, while 9 percent (up from 3 percent in 2001) have security policies.

In the conclusion of the report, the research team presents a number of suggestions to improve navigation and provide access to information. One of the weaknesses of many national Web sites has been their inconsistency in terms of design features. Government agencies guard their autonomy very carefully, and it has taken a while for agencies to learn how to work together in order to make the government’s Web sites easier for citizens to use.

Governments should promote features that allow citizens to post comments or otherwise provide feedback about a government agency, the researchers said. They also should consider market research, public opinion surveys or focus groups that would provide them with information on how citizens feel about e-government Web sites and what features would attract them to use these sites.

One of the major challenges of e-government is the up-front costs of developing a Web site and putting information and services online. To deal with this issue, smaller and poorer countries should undertake regional e-government alliances that would allow them to pool resources and gain greater efficiency at building their infrastructure.

For more information on this study, contact Darrell West at Brown University at (401) 863-1163 or e-mail Darrell_West@brown.edu. The full Global e-Government Study is online at www.insidepolitics.org. The appendix of that report presents detailed profiles of each of the 198 national governments around the world.