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What’s In A Website? E-Government Scores and Municipal Characteristics

Author: STEPHEN J. CHAPMAN
Published in PAQ, Vol. 41 No. 2

In 2012, Monmouth University’s Polling Institute and Monmouth University’s Public Policy graduate program conducted an analysis of municipal websites throughout the state of New Jersey. The intention of the report was to provide municipal governments with a general idea of best practices as well as their position relative to other municipalities. While the initial report by Monmouth’s Polling Institute conducted some summary analyses, this analysis unlocks some additional information about explaining the variation of website scores. Taking into account various demographic, budgetary, and political measures, this paper shows that various factors affect the quality of communication between government and citizens. Of particular interest is the effect of municipal partisanship, municipal government professionalism, and the use of referenda on website quality. Such an analysis fills a gap in the e-government literature. While previous studies have focused on various topics within e-government, less attention has been given to explaining the variation in the quality of these websites. By showing the impact of education, poverty, partisanship, government characteristics, budgetary constraints, and population, this analysis should be of import to scholars and policy- makers alike.

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