Magazine Article - Policy Options

Lessons from Estonia on Digital Government

| Feb. 07, 2019

An emerging model of digital government pioneered by Estonia and India is illustrating how governments can do a better job of delivering services. Both countries have devised ways to make it easy for citizens to do simple things online — register a car or renew a passport, for example. But it's the scalability and flexibility of the systems that sets them apart from the usual way that governments offer these kinds of services.

Most governments have online offerings that were developed from scratch by each department, duplicating rather than leveraging each other's systems. It's a siloed approach that misses opportunities for efficiencies and is more expensive than it needs to be.

Estonia and, increasingly India, by contrast, use a standardized system that allows departments and agencies to share sign-in information and databases, which are part of the back-office systems that support online services. In effect, the systems can talk to each other, which means that new services can be developed and offered quickly and cheaply....

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For Academic Citation: Eaves, David and Ben McGuire. “Lessons from Estonia on Digital Government .” Policy Options, February 7, 2019.