From Internet to Social Safety Net: The Policy Consequences of Online Participation in China
Invited conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractInternet-based platforms are increasingly being used by governments around the world to facilitate public engagement with citizens. However, it remains an open question whether participation through these platforms can actually enable citizens to influence policies. We address this question by studying the patterns and consequences of online participation at a major electronic petition platform in China, a country with the world's largest Internet-using population. Content analysis of over 900,000 petitions reveals that a substantial share of them concern lower-class issues and are originated from less developed rural and suburban areas. Linking variations in petition volumes to an original dataset of government policy priorities, we further show that online participation led governments to place greater emphasis on social welfare policies and to increase the coverage of a key low-income assistance program. These results suggest that online participation has the potential to improve the quality of governance even in an authoritarian regime.
Acceptance Date01/10/2017
All Author(s) ListJunyan Jiang, Tianguang Meng, Qing Zhang
Name of Conference2018 Annual Meetings of Southern Political Science Association
Start Date of Conference04/01/2018
End Date of Conference06/01/2018
Place of ConferenceNew Orleans
Country/Region of ConferenceUnited States of America
Year2018
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2019-05-01 at 10:18