The Impact of e‐Government Promotion in Europe: Internet Dependence and Critical Mass

Abstract

Governments and public bodies have been fostering the development of e‐Government services during the last decade, promoting more and better administrative services through digital channels. The impact of this process, however, has not been fully assessed. This article investigates the relative impact of two key factors on the diffusion of e‐Government services; the level of Internet penetration and investment by governments in more and better government services. The aim is to analyze across European countries the impact of e‐Government policies on their adoption, under different levels of Internet penetration, enabling an assessment of how promotion of e‐Government (through investment in more and better services, for example) can have the maximum impact on citizenship adoption. It reports analysis of a cross‐sectional dataset of European countries using a Bayesian linear model. Results show that when Internet users are scarce, policies to foster e‐Government adoption will have little ‐ although not negligible ‐ impact. But at a certain level of Internet penetration, focused e‐Government policies have a substantial impact on citizens’ adoption of the technology. The results also highlight the importance of investing in e‐Government in the appropriate moment, that is, when its impact can be greatest. The paper, then, addresses the factors that make eGovernment policy more effective. The Bayesian inference used allows the research to avoid artificial assumptions common in comparative politics research, to design more flexible models and to present the results in a more natural way.

Publication
Policy & Internet
Date