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The Effect of Government Responsiveness on Future Political Participation

33 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2015  

Fredrik M. Sjoberg

Data-Pop Alliance

Jonathan Mellon

University of Oxford - Nuffield College; University of Manchester

Tiago Peixoto

World Bank - Governance Global Practice

Date Written: February 26, 2015

Abstract

What effect does government responsiveness have on political participation? Since the 1940s political scientists have used attitudinal measures of perceived efficacy to explain participation. More recent work has focused on underlying genetic factors that condition citizen engagement. We develop a ‘Calculus of Participation’ that incorporates objective efficacy – the extent to which an individual’s participation actually has an impact – and test the model against behavioral data from FixMyStreet.com (n=399,364). We find that a successful first experience using FixMyStreet.com (e.g., reporting a pothole and having it fixed) is associated with a 54 percent increase in the probability of an individual submit-ting a second report. We also show that the experience of government responsiveness to the first report submitted has predictive power over all future report submissions. The findings highlight the importance of government responsiveness for fostering an active citizenry, while demonstrating the value of incidentally collected data to examine participatory behavior at the individual level.

Keywords: Government Responsiveness, Participation, Fix My Street, ICT, Crowdsourcing

JEL Classification: P16, H76, H54

Suggested Citation

Sjoberg, Fredrik M. and Mellon, Jonathan and Peixoto, Tiago, The Effect of Government Responsiveness on Future Political Participation (February 26, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2570898 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2570898

Fredrik Sjoberg (Contact Author)

Data-Pop Alliance ( email )

Jonathan Mellon

University of Oxford - Nuffield College ( email )

New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Tiago Peixoto

World Bank - Governance Global Practice ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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