The Evolution of E-Government among Municipalities: Rhetoric or Reality?



Information technology has become one of the core elements of managerial reform, and electronic government (e-government) may figure prominently in future governance. This study is designed to examine the rhetoric and reality of e-government at the municipal level. Using data obtained from the 2000 E-government Survey conducted by International City/County Management Association and Public Technologies Inc., the article examines the current state of municipal e-government implementation and assesses its perceptual effectiveness. This study also explores two institutional factors (size and type of government) that contribute to the adoption of e-government among municipalities. Overall, this study concludes that e-government has been adopted by many municipal governments, but it is still at an early stage and has not obtained many of expected outcomes (cost savings, downsizing, etc.) that the rhetoric of e-government has promised. The study suggests there are some widely shared barriers (lack of financial, technical, and personnel capacities) and legal issues (such as privacy) to the progress of municipal e-government. This study also indicates that city size and manager-council government are positively associated with the adoption of a municipal Web site as well as the longevity of the Web site.