Unraveling the effects of active and passive forms of political Internet use: Does it affect citizens’ political involvement?


Work data:

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Democracy | Politics and Political Science


In the time since the rise of the Internet, it has often been claimed that it has the potential to contribute to the quality of democracy by fostering citizens’ involvement in politics. So far, empirical evidence regarding this purported effect has been mixed, and many questions about the consequences of specific forms of political Internet use (PIU) have remained unanswered. This study expands the knowledge about the relation between PIU and political involvement by examining the effect of active and passive forms of PIU on citizens’ political involvement: more specifically, interest and voter turnout during election times. The results obtained from a panel study of a representative sample of the Dutch population (N = 985) reveal a positive relation between particular forms of PIU on the one hand and voter turnout and political interest on the other hand. In addition, for two specific forms of PIU, the positive effect on voter turnout is more prevalent for citizens who exhibit lower levels of political interest.