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Responsive Government: The Diversity and Institutional Performance of Online Political Deliberation Systems

Social Sciences in China

Vol. 40, No. 4, 2019

 

Responsive Government: The Diversity and Institutional Performance of Online Political Deliberation Systems

(Abstract)

 

Meng Tianguang

 

Along with innovation in ICT technology and the spread of the internet, the online network, through its “technological empowerment” of citizens and governments, has driven a series of institutional changes designed to promote government responsiveness. The global spread of online political deliberation is indeed an achievement of the internet- driven construction of responsive government. In recent years, the Chinese government has vigorously promoted online political deliberation, established virtual platforms to build bridges between netizens and public power, brought internet activism into institutional channels, and implemented political absorption and online consultation. Under the influence of policy initiatives and local innovations, China has created diversified response systems that strengthen the institutionalization of online political deliberation and thereby enable this system to play an active role in improving government capacity and regulating the relationship between the state and society. At present, China has seven types of online response: the Communist Party Committee-led mode, the mixed mode, the government- led mode and the modes led by the departments in charge of absorption, business, supervision departments, and petitioning. Empirical studies show that the diversity and degree of institutionalization of online political deliberation significantly affect institutional performance and that political authority and professionalism are important features that enable the different response systems to influence institutional performance. In short, the endogenous elements of the response system—level of institutionalization and institutional diversity—are key factors in institutional performance.

 

Keywords: responsive government, online political deliberation, institutionalization, institutional performance