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Digital Access, Political Networks and the Diffusion of Democracy

Authors: Rhue, Lauren
Sundararajan, Arun
Keywords: Democracy, Internet, Social media, Selection, Influence, SIENA
Issue Date: 20-Jul-2011
Series/Report no.: CeDER-11-03;
Abstract: We examine the effects of digital access on the prevalence of democracy and its diffusion via geographical and trade networks across 152 countries between 2000 and 2008. Although civil liberties and media freedom show a consistently positive relationship with different forms of digital access, our dynamic models that allow co-evolution of digital access, democracy and trade tie formation suggest that high mobile penetration has a more significant impact on civil liberties than Internet access does, and may also increase a country's "susceptibility" to democratic changes in neighboring nations. We explore possible drivers of these empirical findings, discussing some social and political implications.
Appears in Collections:CeDER Working Papers

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