Efficacy of e-Participation and Mobilization of Bias
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Efficacy of e-Participation and Mobilization of Bias. Heungsuk, CHOI Professor, Korea University [email protected] Kyoungsu , LEE Graduate student, Korea University [email protected] Introduction. 1. What is ‘ Sangsang (imagination) Oasis’?. 2. Analysis.

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Efficacy of e-Participation and Mobilization of Bias

Heungsuk, CHOI

Professor, Korea University

[email protected]

Kyoungsu, LEE

Graduate student, Korea University

[email protected]




What is ‘Sangsang(imagination) Oasis’?







  • . Introduction


  • Evolution of e-Democracy

    • Hi-OVIS(the Highly Interactive-Optical Visual Information System ) in Ikoma district of Nara in Japan (1978 -1986) : two-way TV, video conferencing, e-Shoping

    • QUBE by Warmer-Amex in Columbus, Ohio in U.S. (1977)

      • worries about Push-button democracy (Dutton, 2007)

    • Public Electronic Network in Santa Monica, California in U.S. (1990s) : on-line conferencing by citizens (4505 of Santa Monica residents (5%): Dutton, 2007), access to local government information and services

    • Web 2.0 : social networking, Mashup, citizen reporter

    • e-petition, Web-TV, HearFromYourMP and Citizen Calling in U.K.

    • Web TV, e-Voting in Gangnam district of Seoul; e-petition, e-government information request, e-voting of the central government in Korea


  • “A Ladder of Citizen Participation"(S. Arstein, 1969)

    • Manipulation > therapy (for citizen behavior) > informating > consulting (survey, hearing, conference) > placation (citizen panel) > partnership > delegated power > citizen control

  • Different types of citizen participation (Verba & Nie, 1972; Verba, Nie & Kim, 1978)

    - voting ; partisan activity ; group activity ; citizen initiated contact

    * What and how is the role of ICT in citizen participation?

  • Sangsang(imagination) Oasis of the Seoul Metropolitan Government launched in October of 2006 – citizen-initiated contact (through policy proposals)


  • To report on the Sangsang Oasis as an experimentation of e-democracy

    • 71 policy proposals selected out of about 18,000 citizen policy proposals (2006. 10 – 2008. 11)

  • To analyze the behavior of government in dealing with e-participation

    • Which proposals are selected by bureaucrats?

    • What are some factors affecting the selection?

    • Mobilization of bias?

  • . What is ‘Sangsang(imagination) Oasis’?









-Random evaluation bynetizens

: Recommendations, Opinions

  • Evaluation by system managers

  • : Compliance, Feasibility



-Validity, Effectiveness

Conference for Actionplan

Citizen proposals

Discussion about some proposals

Officials Meeting

∙ Citizens

∙Citizen panel

∙ Officials

∙ the Mayor

∙ Directors

∙ Experts

  • ∙ Proposer

  • ∙ Citizen panel

    ∙ Citizens


Process of selecting proposals in Sangsang Oasis



bulletin board


bulletin board

  • Which proposals are not initially accepted by system?

    - Critics for it own sake

    - Already in operation

    - Already suggested and adopted

    2. First screening

  • The first screening is carried out by system managers.

  • They remove proposals which do not comply with basic rules.

  • They are supposed to consider carefully citizens’ concerns represented by their suggestions.





Discussion bulletin board

3. Second Screening

- The second screening is carried out by bureaucrats in charge.

- Through the discussion bulletin board, citizens and bureaucrats debate on each suggestion for 2weeks.

  • In an internal meeting of bureaucrats, bureaucrats examine feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and validity of suggestions.

    4. Conference for Action Plan and Selection

  • The conference is held every two months.

  • Participants: Mayor, Directors of Bureaus, Experts, Proposers, Citizen panel (SangsangNuri panel), general citizens

  • Final decisions are made about whether to adopt proposals



Discussion bulletin board

* Exceptional process

  • Some proposals are selected without undergoing the formal process by bureaucrats in charge.

  • Some proposals still can be selected by bureaucrats for themselves, when they consider proposals reasonable and implementable with small financial resources.

  • 9 proposals was adopted through this exceptional process between Oct 2006 and Nov 2008.

  • “Non-stop-flight” proposals


  • Request for government to do something

    - This participatory system does not permit the writing which does not contain the policy alternative.

    2. Incentive System

    - Mileage : whenever citizens login this website, submit a proposal, and write reply, they obtain some points which can be used for sending message to someone’s cellular phone or transforming into T-money.

    (T-money is the cyber money used for paying bus and subway fare in Seoul)

    - Prize : the Government gives a 100,000won(about 80 US dollar) gift certificate to a citizen who suggests the proposal called up the conference.

Status report
Status report

The Number of proposals on each stage (between Oct 2006 and Nov 2008)

( ): The number of ‘Non-stop adopted suggestions

Status report1
Status report

What do citizens want for government to do? (between Oct 2006 and Jul 2007)

The number of participants (between Oct 2006 and Jul 2007)

- each suggestion was not concerned by many citizens though many citizens had used this website.

- It can be said that this participatory system is full of small issues demanding for government to do something


H1: the Mayor’s priority affects the selection of citizen proposals.

- The Mayor is a key player in deciding policies. And he tends to achieve his public pledge. And he has the right to do.

- Mayor’s priority may be reflected in allocation of budget. If so, selection of proposals in need of large financial resources is especially affected by Mayor’s priority.

- According to Seoul Metropolitan Government, government has promoted major 20 projects during present mayor’s term. And these major projects were based on mayor’s pledge.


H2: Election affects the selection of citizen proposals

In representative democracy system, as politicians, representatives may be achievement-oriented for their political ambition; re-elected or elected to superior position. It is expected that they tend to achieve the project within his term of office. So, the project which takes long term to achieve may be adopted at early term of office.

H3: Technical difficulty affects the selection

Because of screening by officials, it is can be assumed that bureaucrats prefer selecting something easy for achieving to selecting something difficult.


H4: Interests of bureaucrats affect the selection of citizen proposals


  • - The present mayor of Seoul, Se-hoon Oh seems to be puts stress on strengthening urban competitiveness and boosting tourist industries.

  • - The Slogan of Seoul Metropolitan Government

  • : “Clean, Attractive and Global Seoul”

  • - With seeing the budget summary of tax expenditure classified according to function, tax expenditure related to tourist was more than tripled in 2008 and 2009.

<table> 5 project areas of the mayor


What proposals are selected? (between Oct 2006 and Jul 2007)

13 proposals of 32 selected proposals were instrumental to the 20 major projects promised by the mayor


What proposals are selected? (between Oct 2006 and Jul 2007)

  • 5 of selected proposals are related to one of the most important and ambitious project of Mayor, ‘Han River Renaissance project.’

  • Proposals about general improvement of the subway were not selected although 41 proposals were put on the bulletin board. The 20 projects of mayor does not contain only air quality improvement for the subway.


  • The proportion of proposals instrumental to mayoral projects

  • Acceptance rate in relation to budget size & instrumentality to the mayor’s project


Period needed for implementing proposals (n=71, finally selected)

Need of financial resources for implementing proposals


  • Acceptance rates in relation to technical difficulty and instrumentality to mayor’s projects (2006 Oct. – 2007 Jul.) (n=527, Bulletin B.)

  • The proportion of selected proposals by technical difficulty and instrumentality (n=71, selected)

  • Examples of those selected despite technical difficulty

  • Advertising Seoul using ‘Google earth’

  • Voice guide for foreigner in the transportation


  • The proportion of selected proposals (n=71)

  • Interests of Bureaus do not seem to significantly affect the selection of citizen proposals

  • Amongst four selected but unimplemented proposals, three proposals were not on the list of bureau’s MBO objectives

    • underground structure in front of the City Hall

    • LED theater & performance information board in the Hyewha subway station

    • Advertisement board like “HOLLYWOOD” in LA nearby the Incheon Airport

    • * Measured through MBO objectives

  • . Conclusion

  • Mayor’s interest matters

  • Election cycle matters

  • Mobilization of bias, especially in the implementation

  • stage