Skip to Main Navigation

Effects of the internet on participation : study of a public policy referendum in Brazil (English)

Does online voting mobilize citizens who otherwise would not participate? During the annual participatory budgeting vote in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil -- the world's largest -- Internet voters were asked whether they would have participated had there not been an online voting option (i-voting). The study documents an 8.2 percent increase in total turn-out with the introduction of i-voting. In support of the mobilization hypothesis, unique survey data show that i-voting is mainly used by new participants rather than just for convenience by those who were already mobilized. The study also finds that age, gender, income, education, and social media usage are significant predictors of being online-only voters. Technology appears more likely to engage people who are younger, male, of higher income and educational attainment, and more frequent social media users.


  • Author

    Spada,Paolo, Mellon,Jonathan, Peixoto,Tiago Carneiro, Sjoberg,Fredrik Matias

  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country


  • Region

    Latin America & Caribbean,

  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Effects of the internet on participation : study of a public policy referendum in Brazil

  • Keywords

    access to the internet;information and communication technology;participatory budget;participatory budget process;form of engagement;modes of participation;sections of society;poor geographic area;state investment budget;national civic review;participation of citizens;forms of participation;online political participation;place of work;proportion of female;positive feedback effect;channel of participation;cost of participation;social media;response rate;participatory governance;marginal effect;logistic regression;substitution effect;survey data;online participation;digital divide;voting process;voting mechanism;internet usage;confidence interval;survey instrument;survey respondent;online survey;general elections;ip address;citizen engagement;traditional form;public policy;independent variable;research design;middle class;ballot box;deliberative process;rational choice;privileged groups;electoral process;summary statistic;social network;demographic characteristic;political science;statistical appendix;social learning;internet technology;income scale;social skill;future research;budget meetings;political representation;technological skill;convenience factor;historical data;political activities;gender balance;local democracy;redistributive impact;political factor;regional research;hypothetical scenario;survey design;community meetings;health council;offline systems;model specification;measurement error;institutional design;regression results;robustness check;participation cost;cognitive tool;employment status;general population;unemployment rate;negative effect;election fraud;security system;public good;regional priority;voter registration;Electronic Government;ballot initiatives;municipal assembly;eligible voters;civil action;reducing mortality;promoting health;hybrid program;participatory institution;representative institutions;empirical literature;political decision;participatory democracy;strong authentication;broad debate;brazilian case;specific issue;geographic coverage;transport cost;Public Goods;unequal access;advantaged groups;politically active;representative democracy;voting machine;voter turnout;postal voting;binding decision;civil society;public sphere;city government;state budget;financial issue;survey questions;missing value;budget priority;present evidence;empirical evidence;Public Spending;election system;collaborative effort;data processing;observational study;media usage;open access;development policy;equal share;empirical analysis;indirect approach;



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Spada,Paolo Mellon,Jonathan Peixoto,Tiago Carneiro Sjoberg,Fredrik Matias

Effects of the internet on participation : study of a public policy referendum in Brazil (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 7204 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.