A Global Empirical Evaluation of New Communication Technology Use and Democratic Tendency

Stodden, Victoria C.

Is the dramatic increase in Internet use associated with a commensurate rise in democracy? Few previous studies have drawn on multiple perception-based measures of governance to assess the Internets effects on the process of democratization. This paper uses perception-based time series data on "Voice & Accountability," "Political Stability," and "Rule of Law" to provide insights into democratic tendency. The results of regression analysis suggest that the level of "Voice & Accountability" in a country increases with Internet use, while the level of "Political Stability" decreases with increasing Internet use. Additionally, Internet use was found to increase significantly for countries with increasing levels of "Voice & Accountability" In contrast, "Rule of Law" was not significantly affected by a country's level of Internet use. Increasing cell phone use did not seem to affect either "Voice & Accountability", "Political Stability" or "Rule of Law." In turn, cell phone use was not affected by any of these three measures of democratic tendency. When limiting our analysis to autocratic regimes, we noted a significant negative effect of Internet and cell phone use on "Political Stability" and found that the "Rule of Law" and "Political Stability" metrics drove ICT adoption.


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ICTD 2009 proceedings: 2009 International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development: April 17-19, 2009, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Education City, Doha, Qatar

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October 11, 2011