From Internet to social safety net: The policy consequences of online participation in China
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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 data set 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 underscore the potential of online participation as an important mechanism to improve the quality of governance.
All Author(s) ListJunyan Jiang, Tianguang Meng, Qing Zhang
Journal nameGovernance
Volume Number32
Issue Number3
Pages531 - 546
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2021-08-01 at 01:57