How Does Rising Internet Usage Affect Political Participation in East Asia? Explaining Divergent Effects

Min-Hua Huang; Ching-Hsuan Su; Ruixia Han; Mark Weatherall
October 2017
Asian Perspective;Oct-Dec2017, Vol. 41 Issue 4, p527
Academic Journal
The advance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has fundamentally changed the way people communicate and interact with each other, and the rise of the Internet profoundly affects political participation. In applying the latest Asian Barometer surveys, we discovered Internet-driven divergent effects on political participation, suggesting rising Internet usage is simultaneously associated with decreasing electoral and increasing activist participation. Further analysis revealed that the divergent effects can be explained by severe frustration with the political system and economic conditions. When considering state polity characteristics, we found that the Internet-driven divergent effects in a democratic context refer to a coincidence of two Internet-related effects that decrease electoral and increase activist participation; in an authoritarian context, they indicate a correlation between greater Internet usage and a preference for activist over electoral participation.


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