Explaining Cross-National Variation in Government Adoption of New Technologies


  •  The author would like to thank the Editor and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. The data used in this analysis, including Stata .do files, as well as other supplementary materials, are available at http://www.jenniferbussell.com/research.


New information and communication technologies provide governments with opportunities to deliver public services more effectively to their citizens. But we know little about the reasons for variation in the adoption of these technologies across countries. Using cross-national data on government use of information technologies to reform public service delivery, or eGovernment, I argue that politicians’ expectations about the effects of more transparent service delivery on established patterns of rent-seeking play an important role in shaping variation in the character of reforms. I show that the level of preexisting corruption in a country is a robust predictor of eGovernment outcomes, with more corrupt governments less likely than their less corrupt peers to implement high-quality public service reforms using information technology. This finding contrasts with those analyses that emphasize the role of economic conditions or regime type in explaining technological diffusion.