Online Resources, Political Participation and Equalities
Type of work: Communication
New information and communication technologies are reshaping political activity. The Internet offers new opportunities for involvement online and access to the Internet and online abilities are a new resource for political participation. In this paper we firstly explore and compare the characteristics of online and offline participants along relevant socio demographic characteristics for three participation modes that can be performed both online and offline (contact, donation and petition). Secondly, we examine the role of different kinds of participatory resources for those activities. Online resources are essential to understand online participation. Using a Heckman selection model we find that traditional resources such as income or civic skills determine the probability to have access to the Internet, but they make little difference to sort participants and non-participants once access to the Internet is achieved. Having online resources in some cases increases the probabilities to participate in traditional activities. Internet use does not only increase the spectrum of possible activities, but it provides new resources that can be used for participation and is reshaping the traditional inequalities found in political activity.