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Essays on the role of the internet in development and political change

Miner, Luke (2012) Essays on the role of the internet in development and political change. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis contains three independent chapters aimed at increasing our understanding of the effects of Internet diffusion on politics and development. The first chapter proposes a novel methodology for measuring Internet penetration. Using IP geolocation data, a new measure of Internet access is created, which counts the number of IP addresses per person in a region. This is the first measure of Internet penetration that is comparable not only across countries but across sub-regions of countries such as states or even electoral districts. The second chapter applies this measure to test whether Internet diffusion can weaken incumbent power in a semi-authoritarian regime. Using Malaysia as a test case, I find that the Internet is responsible for a six point swing away from the incumbent party in the 2008 elections. In the third chapter, co-authored with Valentino Larcinese, we look at the effects of the Internet on U.S. presidential elections. In accordance with anecdotal evidence, we find that increased Internet penetration leads to an increase in small donations to the Democratic Party and a swing towards the Democratic presidential candidate.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Luke Miner
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Burgess, Robin and Padró i Miquel, Gerard
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/521

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