This paper tests the hypothesis that social information provided by the internet makes it possible in large groups to exert social pressure that Olson considered viable only for smaller groups. In two experiments - laboratory and field - subjects could choose to sign petitions and donate money to support causes. Participants were randomised into treatment groups that received varying information about how many other people had participated and control groups receiving no social information.
Productivity is defined as the ratio of outputs to inputs. When applied to the public sector, productivity becomes a key performance indicator that shows how efficiently public resources are employed in providing public services. Until not too long ago productivity in the public sector was assumed to be flat as outputs were given the same price as the cost of producing them. Recent methodological approaches suggest to measure outputs directly in order to count with realistic productivity estimates. Empirical public sector productivity studies are still in its infancy.
On 7 May 2009 the National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report on information exchange in benefits delivery: Department for Work and Pensions: Communicating with Customers, produced by a joint OII-LSE research team led by Professors Helen Margetts (OII) and Patrick Dunleavy (LSE).
This paper investigates the impact of the internet upon individual contributions to collective action. It examines how political participation may be stimulated by one particular characteristic of the internet: its ability to provide real-time feedback information on the participation of others in a political action.
The shift of much of political life on to the Internet and WWW has implications for understanding of political behaviour, particularly people's willingness to undertake collective action and organise around public goods. Web-based experiments are an under-used methodology to identify and investigate these Internet effects.
Economists studying commercial activity on-line argue that the most significant difference between on-line and off-line commerce is the ability of firms to ‘know who your customers are and treat them differently’ (Vulkan 2006), customizing prices and offerings. This difference comes from the huge amount of data generated by on-line transactions, in terms of historical records, usage statistics and real-time data. Yet in political life, governmental organizations and political parties have been far slower to use such data to improve their service offerings and devise innovative policy interventions, such as differential pricing and personalized information provision.
A new report on the state of UK government on the internet has been published by the UK National Audit Office on 13 July 2007, based on research by a team from the Oxford Internet Institute
(University of Oxford) and the LSE Public Policy Group (London School of Economics and Political Science).
by Tobias Escher (UCL School of Public Policy), Helen Margetts (UCL and Oxford Internet Institute),
Ingemar J. Cox (UCL Computer Science) and Vaclav Petricek (UCL Computer Science)
This paper has been presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Philadelphia (31. August - 4. September 2006).