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Size and e-Democracy: Online Participation in Norwegian Local Politics

Authors


* Jo Saglie, Institute for Social Research, PO Box 3233, Elisenberg, N–0208 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: jo.saglie@socialresearch.no

** Signy Irene Vabo, Oslo University College, Faculty of Social Sciences, PO Box 4, St Olavs plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: signy.vabo@sam.hio.no

Abstract

This study of municipal e-participation in Norway, comprising local politicians as well as citizens, explores the impact of municipal size on online participation. First, the analyses show that the conventional predictors of offline participation also influence online participation, but the Internet encourages more activity among young people. Second, the same digital divides are generally found within the local political elite as among the citizens. Municipal size is, however, an exception. In the case of the local politicians, higher online participation rates are found in populous municipalities. This territorial digital divide is absent among the citizens. The findings indicate that the relatively high level of traditional participation in small municipalities also promote e-participation.

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