The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Calderaro: Digital Politics Divide: does the Digital Divide still matter?


Calderaro, A., European University Institute


To this day, the Digital Divide has been considered key to understanding the relation between Internet and politics. Today, the Internet is used far more broadly worldwide. When comparing the use of the Internet to practice politics from a transnational analytical perspective, we observe that the Internet also matters for politics in countries with a high level of Digital Divide. With this study I empirically resize the relation of causality between the Digital Divide and the influence of the Internet on politics. I explore how also other contextual factors are determinant in this regard. My focus is on the online presence of political parties worldwide. By combining multiple sources, I have built a dataset in order to map the unequal online presence of political parties in 190 countries, as well as country-contextual factors, including level of Digital Divide, and economic and democratic. This leads me to show how the Digital Divide has a limited significance in explaining the unequal presence of political parties on the WWW. Instead, I highlight that democratic status, among various other country-contextual specificities, is the strongest contextual factor in determining the unequal use of the Internet in politics.

Internet and Politics, Political Parties, Digital Divide
Andrea Calderaro