Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

Information technology and political engagement

This paper contributes to our understanding of inequalities in political participation by assessing the causal and heterogeneous effects of access to means of communication. In doing so we seek to shed light also on the underlying willingness to engage in politics and on citizen beliefs about the effectiveness of political engagement.

Marginalized populations engage in politics at lower rates. Not only are their demands less likely to be addressed, they are also less likely to be articulated in the first place. This study uses a large-scale field experiment—implemented in partnership with the national Democratic Institute and the Parliament of Uganda—to learn about how technological change can effect who gets heard and what gets communicated to politicians. The nationwide field experiment was implemented following a national pilot undertaken under more controlled settings. The controlled experiment provided evidence that ICT can lead to significant “flattening”: a greater share of marginalized populations used this SMS-based communication compared to existing political communication channels. Estimated relations from the scaled-up intervention, however, look a lot like politics as usual, where participation rates are low and marginalized populations engage at especially low rates. We examine possible reasons for these differences, and then present the design and analysis of a third “mechanism experiment” that helps parse rival explanations for these divergent patterns

With the multiple pieces of evidence available to us we infer that the failure of the nationwide program is not simply a function of weak demand on the part of citizens but is a function of larger inequalities. Some of these, such as unevenness in receipt of invitations from parliament, might be addressable through improved interventions. However, some reflect more fundamental weaknesses in the broader political system, most notably cynicism regarding the competence and motivations of politicians, which parliament likely cannot address easily through technological innovation.

[Download study in PDF format]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on Tuesday, 7 June 2016 by in Innovation, Politics and rights and tagged , , , , .

We need to drastically change the way we produce and eat food

Urban Asia Blog

Cities and Social Change

Governance and Development Soapbox

Forum for thinking and action in international development

Developing Economics

A Critical Perspective On Development Economics

Learning Community

A Learning Change Project Blog by Giorgio Bertini

Political Prisoners in Thailand

Oppose lese majeste law and human rights abuses in Thailand

Development Matters

Discussions on development opportunities and challenges

The Undercover Historian

Beatrice Cherrier's blog

Mapping for Development

Urban Studies x Sustainable Development x Geospatial Analysis

Culture and Capitalism

A Sussex University Anthropology blog

Rethinking international development

Alternative paradigms, practices and challenges


Political Ecology Network

Urban Finland

Rethinking the Finnish City - From Rurban to Urban Living

ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

Economic Sociology & Political Economy

The global community of academics, practitioners, and activists – led by Dr. Oleg Komlik

Real-World Economics Review Blog

Posts are by authors of papers published in the RWER. Anyone may comment.


Just another site

Progressive Geographies

Thinking about place and power - a site written and curated by Stuart Elden

Another WORD is Possible

Words & Fotos ON / All rights reserved © Lee Yu Kyung 2023

{FAVEL issues}

urban informality + urban development

Wait... What?

discussions on digital ethics. privacy and power

Under The Ropes

Gender and Muay Thai Law

Foreigners' Rights and Layman's Legal Overview for Thailand


News about the journal, new articles, free downloads and more

Som Tam. Anytime.

Je procrastine (beaucoup). Mais des fois j'écris (un peu).

Perspectives in Anthropology

A resource rich anthropology website

%d bloggers like this: