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“I wld like u WMP to extend electricity 2 our village†: On Information Technology and Interest Articulation




How does access to information communication technology (ICT) affect who gets heard and what gets communicated to politicians? On the one hand, ICT can lower communication costs for poorer constituents; on the other, technological channels may be used disproportionately more by the already well connected. To assess the flattening effects of ICTs, we presented a representative sample of constituents in Uganda with an opportunity to send a text message to their representatives at one of three randomly assigned prices. Critically, and contrary to concerns that technological innovations benefit the privileged, we find evidence that ICT can lead to significant flattening: a greater share of marginalized populations use this channel compared to existing political communication channels. Price plays a more complex role. Subsidizing the full cost of messaging increases uptake by over 40%. Surprisingly however, subsidy-induced increases in uptake do not yield further flattening since free channels are not used at higher rates by more marginalized constituents.

Suggested Citation

  • Grossman, Guy & Humphreys, Macartan & Sacramone-Lutz, Gabriella, 2014. "“I wld like u WMP to extend electricity 2 our village†: On Information Technology and Interest Articulation," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 688-705, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:108:y:2014:i:03:p:688-705_00

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    1. Simplice Asongu & Jacinta Nwachukwu & Sara le Roux, 2019. "The role of inclusive development and military expenditure in modulating the effect of terrorism on governance," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 46(3), pages 681-709, August.
    2. Wantchekon, Leonard & Riaz, Zara, 2019. "Mobile technology and food access," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 344-356.
    3. Asongu, Simplice A. & Odhiambo, Nicholas M., 2019. "Governance and social media in African countries: An empirical investigation," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 411-425.
    4. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Faith Fatchen & John List, 2024. "Using Field Experiments to Understand the Impact of Institutions on Economic Growth," Natural Field Experiments 00787, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Grossman, Guy & Humphreys, Macartan & Sacramone-Lutz, Gabriella, 2020. "Information Technology and Political Engagement: Mixed Evidence from Uganda," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 82(4), pages 1321-1336.
    6. Simplice A. Asongu & Nicholas Biekpe, 2017. "Government quality determinants of ICT adoption in sub-Saharan Africa," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 107-130, December.
    7. Asongu, Simplice A. & Biekpe, Nicholas, 2018. "ICT, information asymmetry and market power in African banking industry," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 518-531.
    8. Asongu, Simplice & le Roux, Sara & Nwachukwu, Jacinta & Pyke, Chris, 2018. "The Mobile Phone as an Argument for Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 89364, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Grácio, Matilde & Vicente, Pedro C., 2021. "Information, get-out-the-vote messages, and peer influence: Causal effects on political behavior in Mozambique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    10. Asongu, Simplice A. & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C., 2017. "The Impact of Terrorism on Governance in African Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 253-270.
    11. Simplice A. Asongu, Nicholas M. Odhiambo, 2022. "Information for banking efficiency in Africa: evidence from income levels and legal origins," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 19(2), pages 251-274, December.
    12. Rezki, Jahen F., 2023. "Does the mobile phone affect social development? Evidence from Indonesian villages," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(3).
    13. Simplice A. Asongu & Nicholas M. Odhiambo, 2022. "Information Sharing and Banking Efficiency in Africa: A Disaggregated Panel Data Analysis," Working Papers 22/010, European Xtramile Centre of African Studies (EXCAS).
    14. Asongu, Simplice & Batuo, Enowbi & Nwachukwu, Jacinta & Tchamyou, Vanessa, 2018. "Is information diffusion a threat to market power for financial access? Insights from the African banking industry," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 88-104.
    15. Berliner, Daniel, 2023. "Information Processing in Participatory Governance," SocArXiv snerh, Center for Open Science.
    16. Simplice A. Asongu & Ndemaze Asongu, 2019. "The Role of Mobile Phones in Governance-Driven Technology Exports in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 10(2), pages 849-867, June.
    17. Jennifer M. Larson & Janet I. Lewis, 2017. "Ethnic Networks," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 61(2), pages 350-364, April.
    18. World Bank Group, 2014. "Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 21113, December.
    19. Kosec, Katrina & Wantchekon, Leonard, 2020. "Can information improve rural governance and service delivery?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    20. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2019. "The role of openness in the effect of ICT on governance," Information Technology for Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 503-531, July.
    21. Asongu, Simplice A. & Nwachukwu, Jacinta C. & Orim, Stella-Maris I., 2018. "Mobile phones, institutional quality and entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 183-203.
    22. Rezki, Jahen Fachrul, 2018. "Call Your Leader: Does the Mobile Phone Affect Policymaking?," SocArXiv 3s784, Center for Open Science.
    23. Gottlieb, Jessica, 2016. "Why Might Information Exacerbate the Gender Gap in Civic Participation? Evidence from Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 95-110.
    24. Buntaine, Mark T. & Daniels, Brigham & Devlin, Colleen, 2018. "Can information outreach increase participation in community-driven development? A field experiment near Bwindi National Park, Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 407-421.

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