The Internet and Inequality in Democratic Engagements: Panel Evidence from South Korea
This article examines how Internet use for political information affects citizens’ interest in politics. Moreover, we explore how the Internet’s effect on political interest among the citizenry depends on a variety of group attributes. Despite scholarly interest in the potential for the Internet to facilitate participation and ameliorate political inequality, studies on the relationship between Internet use for political information and political interest have been rare. Most empirical studies analyzing cross-sectional data tend to suffer from establishing causal relationships between the Internet and political interest. Using the 2007 Korean Presidential Election Panel Study, we found that use of the Internet for political news has a positive effect on citizens’ interest in politics. Moreover, we found that the Internet has a moderating effect that reduces the gap in political interest between older people and younger people, but not the gap between different income groups or different groups of educational attainment.