The Internet and Increased Citizen Participation in Government


  • Michael E. Milakovich University of Miami



democracy, information technology, mass media, internet, citizen participation, government, information and communication technology (ICTs)


What roles do communication systems, information technologies and the internet play in fostering citizen participation and influencing the electoral and administrative decisions of government? The internet is simultaneously a world-wide broadcasting network, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic boundaries or time zones. This article describes the origins of participatory democracy, discusses how modern concepts of democracy link to citizen participation, and describes the ways that newly-created spaces on the internet referred to as “polispheres” are being used by political activists and candidates to facilitate wider collaboration and citizen participation. The following questions are addressed: What role does the internet play in fostering and aiding citizen participation in government? Does increased involvement lead to greater trust and confidence in government? What role did the internet play in apparently reversing downward trends in citizen apathy and drawing 8 million new voters to the United States 2008 presidential election? The article suggests that information technology facilitates broader citizen participation and identifies the challenges facing governments in adopting internet-based ICT strategies.


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Author Biography

Michael E. Milakovich, University of Miami

Michael E. Milakovich (Ph.D. Indiana; B.A. UC-Santa Barbara) is a professor of political science and public administration at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. He has served as MPA Director, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and Project Director for the University of Miami Institute for Quality in Manufacturing and Service, and is a Life Member of the American Society for Public Administration. His areas of specialization are: public management and productivity improvement, business-government relations, administration of justice, and healthcare management. He has authored or co-authored 14 books or monographs and published numerous articles, chapters, and reviews in referred journals such as the International Public Management Review, Public Performance and Management Review, American Review of Public Administration, American Political Science Review, Crime and Delinquency, Health Care Management REVIEW, Justice System Journal, National Productivity Review, National Civic Review, Quality Assurance and Utilization Review, and The Journal of Health and Human Resource Administration. His books include Public Administration in America 5th-10th Ed. w/ G. Gordon (Wadsworth/St. Martins Press, 1995-2009), Improving Service Quality in the Global Economy (Auerbach Press, 2006), Florida State and Local Government (Prentice-Hall, 1993), and U.S vs. Crime in the Streets w/T&T Cronin (Indiana University Press, 1981), and Performance Management in Business and Government (in process). He is a Life Member of the American Society for Public Administration; serves as an expert witness in State and Federal courts; advises numerous public, private, non-profit and international organizations on policy analysis and quality improvement strategies; and is a member of several editorial boards. He has conducted global interdisciplinary research, consulted, presented papers and lectured with numerous businesses, governments, and health care organizations in the United States as well as in Austria, the Bahamas, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Hungary, Germany, Japan, Martinique, Turkey, and Venezuela.




How to Cite

Milakovich, M. E. (2010). The Internet and Increased Citizen Participation in Government. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 2(1), 1–9.



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