A Time-Series, Multinational Analysis of Democratic Forecasts and Internet Diffusion

Jacob Groshek


This study examines the democratic effects that the Internet has shown using macro-level, cross-national data in a sequence of time-series statistical tests. The democratic potential of the Internet may be inestimable, but its national level democratic effects were startlingly limited through 2003. Forecasting models generated in this study demonstrate that the actual democracy level of nearly every country in this study was not greater than its corresponding statistically-predicted democracy level for the years 1994 – 2003. These results are consistent even in countries where the Internet was more widely diffused, which suggests that Internet diffusion was not a specific causal mechanism of national-level democratic growth during the timeframe analyzed. Thus, based on the results of the 72 countries reported here, the diffusion of the Internet should not be considered a democratic panacea, but rather a component of contemporary democratization processes.

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