Explaining the Diffusion of Web-Based Communication Technology among Congressional Offices: A Natural Experiment using State Delegations

34 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2009 Last revised: 29 Aug 2012

Kevin M. Esterling

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science

David Lazer

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Michael A. Neblo

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science

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Date Written: August 24, 2009

Abstract

Do legislators learn to use new communication technologies from each other? Using data from the official homepages of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we test whether web-based communication technology diffuses through congressional state delegations. We use a natural experimental design that exploits ignorable state boundaries to distinguish between causal diffusion processes and spatial heterogeneity. Using nonlinear conditional autoregressive models for the statistical test, we find that web communication technology practices are weakly driven by communication within state delegations, and with the effect slightly more pronounced among Democrats than among Republicans.

Keywords: Legislative Websites, Technology Diffusion, Natural Experiment, Conditional Autoregressive Models, Bayesian Estimation

JEL Classification: C11, C99

Suggested Citation

Esterling, Kevin M. and Lazer, David and Neblo, Michael A., Explaining the Diffusion of Web-Based Communication Technology among Congressional Offices: A Natural Experiment using State Delegations (August 24, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1437660 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1437660

Kevin M. Esterling (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.politicalscience.ucr.edu/people/faculty/esterling/index.html

David Lazer

Northeastern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-2796 (Phone)
617-373-5311 (Fax)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Taubman Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0102 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.davidlazer.com

Michael A. Neblo

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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