Revisiting the Relationship Between Internet Access and Civic Engagement: A Multilevel Analysis of Between-Country Differences and Within-Country Change

Ruth Jin-Hee Heo, Tai-Quan "Winson" Peng


Despite the increasing prevalence of Internet connectivity, a significant portion of the population in developing and underdeveloped countries still lacks access to the web. This raises questions about whether there are distinct national disparities in the relationship between Internet access and civic engagement. To address this question, this study employs a multilevel research approach and utilizes extensive cross-country longitudinal survey data. It aims to reexamine the connection between Internet access and civic engagement, while also exploring potential variations across countries. Findings indicate that individual Internet access, as well as factors such as community action context and life satisfaction, are positively associated with civic engagement when accounting for economic and political factors at the national level. Additionally, this study underscores the significant role of country-level indicators in civic engagement and delves into further detail about the interaction effects among the variables at different levels.


civic engagement, Democracy Index, community action context, Internet access, life satisfaction, gross domestic product

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