Diffusion of Electronic Government Technology: An Empirical Study of American Urban Places
thesisposted on 01.08.2021, 00:00 authored by Kelsey Rydland
The rapid expansion and proliferation of technology are continually changing our daily personal and civic lives. The internet's role and the technology behind it are arguably one of the most critical policy innovations of the past century. The rapid, widespread, and sustained diffusion of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 technologies have changed society forever. Digital era governance (DEG) and its use of technology are the driving force behind several decades of administrative reforms. DEG is central to how governments aspire to manage relationships with their citizens. This research examines the spread of DEG by offering a unique look at how technology has diffused in urban governments in the United States. The research uses a fixed-effects regression model and geospatial analysis to examine the determinants of DEG policy adoption. The dissertation examines three phases of DEG (Web 1.0, Web 2.0, open data portals, and 311 systems) across 231 cities. The model uses 693 variables and nearly six thousand text-mined and geographically linked data points over a 10-year time frame to inform our understanding of internal and external factors influencing DEG policy adoption. This research introduces a new way of understanding digital governance diffusion by testing electronic government technologies over time. The research offers a new means for collecting historical data regarding adopted technology. It is also comprehensive in scope, collecting thousands of data points for cities across the United States for over ten years. The research builds on diffusion theory applied to digital governance. The dissertation also tests diffusion theory in a large N-study and applies it to technology policy at the city level – a gap in the diffusion literature. The analysis finds a strong significance and reaffirmation that cities adopted more technologies over time. In addition to the hypothesis testing, the research finds that professional networks have slight significance as a predictor of digital governance adoption. When accounting for time, the fixed-effect analysis does not reveal any independent variables to have a strong significance on technology adoption over time. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of examining DEG policy diffusion, its limitations and then offers potential future research areas.