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Measuring and Explaining the Quality of Web Sites in the (Virtual) House of Representatives

Measuring and Explaining the Quality of Web Sites in the (Virtual) House of Representatives
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Author(s): Kevin M. Esterling (University of California, Riverside, USA), David M.J. Lazer (Harvard University, USA) and Michael A. Neblo (Ohio State University, USA)
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 13
Source title: Virtual Technologies: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Jerzy Kisielnicki (Warsaw University, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-955-7.ch056

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Abstract

To date, research on e-government has devoted relatively little attention to how legislators use the Internet to enhance the representative function. In this chapter, we develop a general method to evaluate the quality of legislative Web sites and apply the method to the Web sites of members of the U.S. House of Representatives. We use a dichotomous latent variable model that combines a measurement model with a structural model to explain the variation in the quality of Web sites. We find the correlates of high quality Web sites include shorter tenure in office and closer electoral margin; the percentage of constituents who are connected to the Internet; and higher socio-economic status of the district. We propose this latent variable measurement approach as a general method for estimating the quality of Web sites for e-government research.

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