Digital Access, Political Networks and the Diffusion of Democracy
Social Networks, Forthcoming
39 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2011 Last revised: 4 Oct 2012
Date Written: September 1, 2012
We examine the effects of digital access on the prevalence of democracy and its diffusion via trade, geographical and migration networks across 189 countries between 2000 and 2010. We find that different digital technologies may have varying impacts on freedom while affecting its diffusion via different political networks, and that related changes in civil liberties can be affected by both media freedom and internal political institutions. Our analysis suggests three key mechanisms linking information technology with democratic change and highlights the importance of a country’s “susceptibility” to political influence that is triggered by greater digitally-induced visibility.
Keywords: Democracy, Internet, Social media, Selection, Influence, SIENA
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