E-gov and inequality in public participation

Despite e-government initiatives, most agency decisions are made without public participation, according to Cary Coglianese’s blog on the University of Pennsylvania Law School website.

Coglianese, the director of the Penn Program on Regulation, studied the topic and concluded, “Contrary to prevailing predictions, empirical research shows that e-rulemaking makes little difference: citizen input remains typically sparse.”

An earlier study — from 2008 — by three other researchers found that online access did not broaden the demographics of who participated politically — it’s still the well-educated and affluent citizens who are most active.

E-gov doesn’t make a difference in civic participation unless there is wide interest in and knowledge of politics and policymaking, Coglianese wrote.

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