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Online and Offline Participation at the Local level: A Quantitative Analysis of the Catalan Municipalities
Borge Bravo, Rosa; Welp, Yanina; Colombo Vilarrasa, Clelia
This article presents an analysis on local participatory experiences in Catalonia,both online and in-person. The analysis is based on a database set up by theauthors. The article carries out an explanatory analysis of local participatoryinitiatives (on- and offline) taking into account political variables (not usually con-sidered in this kind of analysis) and also classical socio-economic variables thatcharacterize municipalities. Hence, we add a quantitative analysis to the numerouscase studies on local e-participation experiences. We have chosen Catalonia becauseit is one of the European regions with more initiatives and a considerable localgovernment support for citizen participation initiatives since the 1980s. Thearticle offers a characterization of these experiences and an explanatory analysis,considering: (i) the institutional context in which these experiences are embedded,(ii) the citizen participation processes and mechanisms online and (iii) a set ofexplanatory variables composed of the population size and the province to whichthe municipality belongs, the political tendency of the mayor, the electoral absten-tion rate, age, income, level of education, broadband connection and users of theInternet in the municipality. The model that we present is explanatory for munici-palities with more than 20,000 inhabitants but it is not for fewer than 20,000inhabitants. Actually, the majority of these latter municipalities have not developedany participatory activities. Among all the variables, population size is the mostinfluential variable and affects the influence of other variables, such as the politicalparty of the mayor, the local abstention rate and the province.
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