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Characterizing E-Participation in Policy-Making

Abstract

This paper argues the urgent need to better understand the e-democracy pilots that have taken place so far and that are currently being developed. It addresses the issues of what should be characterized in e-democracy pilots so as to better identify types of citizen participation exercises and the appropriate technology to support them, as such it offers an analytical framework for electronic participation. Over the last decade there has been a gradual awareness of the need to consider the innovative application of ICTs for participation that enables a wider audience to contribute to democratic debate and where contributions themselves are broader and deeper. This awareness has resulted in a number of isolated e-democracy pilots and research studies. It is important to consolidate this work and characterizes the level of participation, the technology used, the stage in the policy-making process and various issues and constraints, including the potential benefits.