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Digital Activity and Economic Resilience in Communities

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We have lacked good data to understand how people use technology across communities and what impact this has on local outcomes. The need has been especially critical during the pandemic when so much of life shifted online. With access to de-identified data on GoDaddy’s 20 million “ventures” (or domain name websites) since 2018, we explore over time how this digital activity matters for economic opportunity and resilience in communities. Over 75% of these ventures are commercial, and this new data captures online activity of micro- businesses and startups that are too small or too new to be counted by the census. There is evidence that this grassroots digital activity contributes to prosperity in communities, before and during the Covid-19 shutdowns.

Karen Mossberger is the Frank and June Sackton Professor in the School of Public Affairs in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University. She is the director of the Center on Technology, Data and Society and also a senior sustainability scholar with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Her research interests include local governance, urban policy, digital inequality, evaluation of broadband programs and digital government. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Chicago Community Trust, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, among others. The work reported in this talk is co-authored by Caroline Tolbert, University of Iowa and Scott LaCombe, Smith College.