Legislator Use of Communication Technology
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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Politikwissenschaft
Political use of communication technology is rapidly changing the nature of politics; one need look no further than President Trump’s use of Twitter to realize the impact that communication technology is having on political processes. Communication technology has long been recognized as part of the policy feedback process, but until now, has received relatively little focus, often relegated to a line or two in a policy process theory system diagram labeled “feedback." This book takes a fresh look at the role that communication technology plays in the policy process by applying natural science control and electrical engineering concepts such as bandwidth, latency, phase crossover, and positive and negative feedback to develop the critical frequency theory of policy system stability. This theory suggests that every policymaking institution has some critical frequency of communications from the policy environment that once exceeded, causes the policymaking institution to go unstable, and it is this instability that causes the policymaking process to speed up. With the theory developed, data collected on approximately 2,000 state legislators from every state in the U.S. is analyzed using linear and nonlinear regression models to understand the statistically significant relationships between communication technology frequency of use and importance, and the demographic, political, and institutional variables that contribute to policy process stability and instability. Additionally, interviews with legislators uncover many novel and interesting examples of the use of communication technology in the policy process. For example, legislators note that lobbyists sitting in legislative chambers listening to floor debates are actually texting questions and answers to legislators as they debate; legislators participating in this process are acting as policymaking puppets for the lobbyists sitting in the gallery. This single use of a communication technology has the capability of changing the very nature of what it means to be a legislator; with lobbyists acting as surrogate legislators.
Internet-enabled communications, Policy process theory, Punctuated equilibrium, Theories of the policy process, Mass-media communications, Gerrymandering, Communication technology and the policy process, Ideological Polarization, Policy process instability, State legislators