How does the government interact with citizens within an electronic governance system? Selective government responsiveness

Published date01 December 2023
AuthorKyuwoong Kyeong,Hana Ra,Jongyoon Park,Tobin Im
Date01 December 2023
Subject MatterArticles
How does the government
interact with citizens
within an electronic
governance system?
Selective government
Kyuwoong Kyeong
Indiana University Bloomington, USA
Hana Ra
Seoul National University, South Korea
Jongyoon Park
Seoul National University, South Korea
Tobin Im
Seoul National University, South Korea
Democratic governments, owing to limited resources, have no choice but to respond
selectively to citizenspreferences. This study focuses on the characteristic of selective
government responsiveness and explores the inf‌luencing factors. We argue that institu-
tional and political resources affect selective government responsiveness, and we try to
prove this argument through Koreas electronic governance system: the Korean
National Petition. Specif‌ically, this article collects and analyzes a unique data set of peti-
tions and government responses in the system between September 2017 and December
2020. The results from multinomial logistic regression showed that government
response to petitions differs depending on institutional resources. In addition, in the
case of political resources, the inf‌luence of the resources on selective responsiveness
is different according to incentives to be responsive.
Corresponding author:
Tobin Im, Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, Gwanak-ro 1, Gwanak-gu,
Seoul 08826, South Korea.
Review of
International Review of Administrative
2023, Vol. 89(4) 10791096
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00208523221100109
Points for practitioners
This article reveals that the government shows selective government responsiveness to
citizenspreferences within the electronic governance (e-governance) system according
to its resources. This result provides practical lessons for practitioners who are con-
cerned about an e-governance system as a space for communication between the gov-
ernment and citizens. In addition, this article suggests a new direction for scholars by
presenting empirical evidence for government responsiveness in governance, which
has been primarily conceptually studied because it is diff‌icult to measure directly.
e-governance, institutional resources, Korean National Petition, political resources,
selective government responsiveness
The governments response to civic voices is a critical element of democracy. The effort
to increase the quality of democracy has led to an analysis of good government, which
consists of three factors: responsiveness, fairness, and eff‌iciency (Rothstein and Teorell,
2008). Among them, improving responsiveness is signif‌icant in that it can enhance trust
in government (Kennedy, 2015; Saltzstein, 1992; Stivers, 1994).
Previous studies on government responsiveness have focused primarily on the out-
comes, such as policies. These studies def‌ine government responsiveness at a consequen-
tial dimension, assuming that citizenspreferences are ref‌lected in a system established by
governments (Frederickson, 1997). However, because citizenspreferences vary, meas-
uring government responsiveness through specif‌ic outcomes cannot adequately explore
its complex nature and the relationship between government and citizens. Even if we
focus on the procedural dimension to further explore the relationship between citizens
preferences and government responsiveness, there is a limitation that it is ambiguous
how government responsiveness should be evaluated through which reaction to whom
in a situation where multiple stakeholders are intertwined.
We aim to overcome the problems of measurement ambiguity by taking the Petitions
to the Blue House (Korean National Petition: KNP), an electronic governance
(e-governance) system in Korea, as a research object. The KNP is a government-led
online petition platform, similar to the US We the People.Petitions being a clear
target of response and having an unequivocal demand, the governments responsiveness
to them may solve the problems of ambiguity in measurement and evaluation.
Furthermore, literature on the selectivity of government responsiveness in the research
area has been intensifying. The government eff‌iciently uses limited resources to achieve
goals as a rational actor. The organizational purpose of the government is to effectively
provide public services for the people, and the political goal is to maximize the votes for
reelection. Practical evidence of selective government responsiveness can be witnessed in
1080 International Review of Administrative Sciences 89(4)

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