Developments in information and communication technology and networked computing over the past two decades have given rise to the notion of electronic government, most commonly used to refer to the delivery of public services over the Internet. This volume argues for a shift from the narrow focus of "electronic government" on technology and transactions to the broader perspective of information government—the information flows within the public sector, between the public sector and citizens, and among citizens—as a way to understand the changing nature of governing and governance in an information society.
Controbutors discuss the interplay between recent technological developments and evolving information flows, and the implications of different information flows for efficiency, political mobilization, and democratic accountability. The chapters are accompanied by short case studies from around the world, which cover such topics as electronic government efforts in Singapore and Switzerland, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's effort to solicit input on planned regulations over the Internet, and online activism "cyberprotesting" globalization.
Robert D. Behn, Maria Christina Binz-Scharf, Herbert Burkert, Lorenzo Cantoni, Cary Coglianese, Martin J. Eppler, Jane E. Fountain, Monique Girard, Åke Grönlund, Matthew Hindman, Edwin Lau, David Lazer, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Ines Mergel, Gopal Raman, David Stark, Sandor Vegh, and Darrell M. West
About the Editors
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and chairs the Rueschlikon Conferences on Information Policy.
David Lazer is Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Director and founder of the Program on Networked Governance at Harvard University. He is the editor of DNA and the Criminal Justice System: The Technology of Justice (MIT Press, 2004).
"So you thought information technology in the form of 'e-government' would save taxpayer dollars, improve government performance, increase transparency and accountability, and promote democratic participation—and all in a hurry too? Some first-rate scholars of the subject show how the several truths about these matters are much more complicated, and the reasons for them sometimes paradoxical."
—Eugene Bardach, Department of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley
"Through a rich set of essays by leading thinkers, this book advances thenext generation of ideas about information technology and government, movingthe literature beyond the original, transactional conception of 'electronicgovernment.' The authors bring up to date a thesis extending back toFederalist thought in the U.S., which is that flows of information arecentral to the exercise of power and indeed form one of the foundations ofgovernment."
—Bruce Bimber, University of California, Santa Barbara
"The editors of Governance and Information Technology have assembled a strong juxtaposition of general overviews and concrete case studies to critically examine ways in which information and communication technologies are reconfiguring access to information both within government and between governments and citizens. This book not only challenges the idea that new technologies are democratizing access, but also presents alternative conceptions, such as the development of an 'information class', that will shape debate and research on the political implications of e-government."
—Professor William H. Dutton, Director, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
"The e-governance revolution has transformed the way that governmentcommonly delivers basic services. But has it transformed democracy? This isa first-class study of the complex processes of information flows betweencitizens and government. Drawing upon well-known experts and a diverserange of cases, the study provides provocative and important insights intoprocesses of political communications, the uses and limits of informationtechnologies, and the transformation of modern governments."
—Pippa Norris, Director, Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development PolicyUnited Nations Development Programme
"Information is the foundation of government. These essays provide a deeperunderstanding of the ways information flows within government and betweengovernment and citizens. If knowledge is power, this is a powerful book."
—Joseph S. Nye Jr, Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, andauthor of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics
"The editors of Governance and Information Technology have assembled a strong juxtaposition of general overviews and concrete case studies to critically examine ways in which information and communication technologies are reconfiguring access to information both within government and between governments and citizens. This book not only challenges the idea that new technologies are democratizing access, but also presents alternatives conceptions, such as the development of an 'information class,' that will shape debate and research on the political implications of e-government"
—William H. Dutton, DirectorOxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford