[Air-L] Paper: When Does ICT-Enabled Citizen Voice Lead to Government Responsiveness? World Bank Digital Dividends Background Report

Steven Clift slc at publicus.net
Thu Jan 28 13:24:51 PST 2016

When Does ICT-Enabled Citizen Voice Lead to Government Responsiveness?

Tiago Piexoto with the World Bank and Jonathan Fox at American
University collaborated on a background paper released alongside the
World Bank's major Digital Dividend report (bonus links below).

Amazingly, it reviews 23 ICT projects designed to raise citizen voices
in governance. This is incredibly important research.

The full paper in PDF is at:



When Does ICT-Enabled Citizen Voice Lead to Government Responsiveness?

World Development Report
Background Paper - Digital Dividends

This paper reviews evidence on the use of 23 information and
communication technology (ICT) platforms to project citizen voice to
improve public service delivery.

This meta-analysis focuses on empirical studies of initiatives in the
global South, highlighting both citizen uptake (‘yelp’) and the degree
to which public service providers respond to expressions of citizen
voice (‘teeth’).

The conceptual framework further distinguishes between two
trajectories for ICT-enabled citizen voice: Upwards accountability
occurs when users provide feedback directly to decision-makers in real
time, allowing policy-makers and program managers to identify and
address service delivery problems – but at their discretion.

Downwards accountability, in contrast, occurs either through real time
user feedback or less immediate forms of collective civic action that
publicly call on service providers to become more accountable and
depends less exclusively on decision-makers’ discretion about whether
or not to act on the information provided.

This distinction between the ways in which ICT platforms mediate the
relationship between citizens and service providers allows for a
precise analytical focus on how different dimensions of such platforms
contribute to public sector responsiveness.

These cases suggest that while ICT platforms have been relevant in
increasing policymakers’ and senior managers’ capacity to respond,
most of them have yet to influence their willingness to do so.

Clift notes:

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* For the larger Digital Dividends report, see:


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