Experimental E-Deliberation in Taiwan: A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Citizens' Conferences in Beitou, Taipei

Experimental E-Deliberation in Taiwan: A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Citizens' Conferences in Beitou, Taipei

Don-yun Chen (National Chengchi University, Taiwan), Tong-yi Huang (National Chengchi University, Taiwan), Naiyi Hsiao (National Chengchi University, Taiwan), Tze-Luen Lin (National Taiwan University, Taiwan) and Chung-Pin Lee (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-282-4.ch017
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Abstract

This chapter introduces a case of e-deliberation in Taiwan. Democratic deepening can be achieved by the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs), based upon their ability to connect people at a relatively low cost. Following the theories and application of deliberative democracy and e-government, experimentation is increasingly being conducted to answer the critical question: “will ICTs help?” It offers a quasi-experimental design of two citizen conferences held simultaneously in the Beitou area of Taipei, Taiwan; one face-to-face and the other online, with all other factors being equal. The results suggest that whilst online conferencing is as good as face-to-face conferencing on all fronts (with the single exception of time constraints), the expansion of e-deliberation to county- or national-level issues presents significant challenges. More evidence from further experimentation will be required to form viable strategies for fulfilling the “e-dream” of revitalizing democracy through ICTs at community, local, and national levels.
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Introduction

Ever since the American Revolution of the late eighteenth century, representative democracy has continued to form the cornerstone of institutional democracy; there is, however, continuing debate and critique of certain inherent limitations of such representative democracy. Many critics point to the abiding political inequality and alienation of citizens (Lijphart, 1997); indeed, for some, democracy remains an “unfinished endeavor of modernity for human beings” (Habermas, 1996; Bohman, 1996). With the emergence of the so-called ‘deliberative turn’ in the early-1990s, a premium began to be placed on deliberative participation in response to the need for democratic deepening (Dryzek, 2000). However, it is clear that if citizens are to be involved in the deliberation process of policy decision making, then the problem of additional ‘decision costs’ needs to be dealt with (Tullock and Buchanan, 1962). This currently represents the key impediment to the transformation of citizen participation from simple normative discussion into a workable alternative to representative democracy.

The problems relating to the costs involved in wider participation are troubling for both citizens and bureaucrats alike. Given that, from a bureaucratic perspective, the participation of citizens increases operational costs, the incentives for bureaucrats to allow greater citizen participation will invariably be negative. From the standpoint of the citizenry, the increased opportunity costs will undoubtedly lead to citizen disengagement. Thus, the issue of cost management has become a crucial factor in the successful promotion of citizen participation; however, it seems that with the advent of new information and communication technologies (ICTs), the possibility has now emerged for citizens to become involved in the policy decision making process at relatively little additional cost.

Following a lengthy period characterized solely by the concentrated application of service delivery, some recognition has emerged, over recent years, of the need to adopt ICTs as a means of extending the scale of citizen participation within modern democracies. Adopting the term ‘e-governance’ as encompassing the overall contexts of IT application within the public sector, Backus (2001) regarded the process as a combination of two means within governance, e-democracy and e-commerce, each of which respectively promoted the engagement of citizens into public policy processes, and government service delivery to the public.

Responding to the call for participatory governance, the early years of the twenty-first century have witnessed online participation becoming a focal point for the application of ICTs within the overall transformation of the public sector (Chadwick, 2003). Despite the strong support for such new developments, this period has, however, also witnessed the emergence of pessimistic commentary, arguing that the effects of the application of ICTs as a means of supporting democracy remain unclear. Kampen and Snijkers (2003), for example, contend that both representative and direct democracies share a number of inherent problems; heading this list of problems, according to Kampen and Snijkers, is the likelihood that such attempts to combine ICTs with democracy will create new problems, such as increasingly inequitable participation resulting from the ‘digital divide’.

This chapter sets out from the premise that it is far too early to judge whether or not the application of ICTs to democracy will meet with success; indeed, we feel that there is an ongoing requirement to carry out real-world experiments to acquire more data to support the growing debate on this issue from an evidence-based standpoint, and to further develop feasible strategies for the implementation of e-democracy initiatives (Sæbø et al., 2008). We provide a report on a city regeneration project which took place in Taipei City, Taiwan in 2004, and which adopted the use of citizens’ conferences as a primary element of the planning stage. Given the quasi-experimental arrangement of the planning activities, we were able to collect both qualitative and quantitative data on two simultaneously-held citizens’ conferences, one of which took place online whilst the other involved face-to-face meetings; all other factors were equal, such as the issues discussed, the procedures adopted and the readable materials provided.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): ICTs refer to the newly developed computing and communicative equipments to connect individual together. They include such equipments as laptop computers with wireless connection to internet, mobile phone, PDA and so on.

E-Deliberation: Deliberation is a process within which members of a community engage in discussion on common issues, considering various options for action under the common ground identified between the community members. E-deliberation refers to the online performance of all of these related activities.

Citizens’ Conferences: Citizens’ conferences involve bringing together selected individuals to deliberate on a common issue, using informed input from experts and stakeholders to finally reach a consensus on that issue for eventual consideration by the government.

Participatory Governance: The authority of a ruling method or system under which a public or collective entity is managed and operated in a participatory way, as distinct to ruled individuals.

local government: A local government is a section of the government as a whole with responsibility for a specific local area. Usually, within any given nation, there will be only one central government, but many local government departments.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Foreword
G. David Garson
Preface
Christopher G. Reddick
Acknowledgment
Christopher G. Reddick
Chapter 1
Vishanth Weerakkody, Gurjit Dhillon
Most public services are overly complex, and separate where citizens have no choice in the service that they receive. All too often, Information and... Sample PDF
Moving from E-Government to T-Government: A Study of Process Reengineering Challenges in a UK Local Authority Context
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Chapter 2
Tino Schuppan
This chapter addresses the link between e-government, organizational networks related to it, and the possibilities for structural reform of... Sample PDF
Local Level Structural Change and E Government in Germany
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Chapter 3
Stephen King
This chapter describes a journey through e-enabled local public services. We start with the familiar local government Web site and contact centre... Sample PDF
Innovation and Citizen-Centric Local E-Government
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Chapter 4
Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira
This chapter shares experience on aspects related to the methodology and modeling of a framework of City E-Governance Readiness. We discuss Europe’s... Sample PDF
Assessing Local Readiness for City E-Governance in Europe
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Chapter 5
Mark Deakin
The chapter examines the IntelCities Community of Practice (CoP) supporting the development of the organization’s e-Learning platform, knowledge... Sample PDF
The IntelCities Community of Practice: The eGov Services Model for Socially Inclusive and Participatory Urban Regeneration Programs
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Chapter 6
Sarah Cotterill
In the United Kingdom and throughout the world there is increasing emphasis on public sector organizations working together in local partnerships.... Sample PDF
Local E-Government Partnerships
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Chapter 7
Ian McLoughlin
In the United Kingdom, major investments have been made in e-government in order to modernize government and improve the efficiency and quality of... Sample PDF
Towards Digital Governance in UK Local Public Services?
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Chapter 8
Bryan Reece, Kim Andreasson
There has been considerable attention given to the issue of unrepresentative access; however, research to date has focused on individual level... Sample PDF
Institutional E-Government Development
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Chapter 9
Tina Jukic, Mateja Kunstelj, Mitja Decman, Mirko Vintar
In this chapter, 3 main aspects of municipal e-government in Slovenia are investigated thoroughly: supply, demand, and the view of municipal... Sample PDF
E-Government in Slovene Municipalities: Analysing Supply, Demand and its Effects
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Chapter 10
Lourdes Torres, Vicente Pina, Basilio Acerete, Sonia Royo
This work tries to assess to what extent e-government enables transparency, openness and, hence, accountability in public administrations. For this... Sample PDF
E-Government and Accountability in EU Local Governments
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Chapter 11
Stephen K. Aikins
A Comparative Study of Municipal Adoption of Internet-Based Citizen Participation Sample PDF
A Comparative Study of Municipal Adoption of Internet-Based Citizen Participation
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Chapter 12
Janita Stuart, Val Hooper
The uptake of Internet voting for local government elections is still in its infancy worldwide. While it holds many potential benefits, there are... Sample PDF
Sociological Factors Influencing Internet Voting
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Chapter 13
Sonja Knapp, Yun Chen, Andy Hamilton, Volker Coors
Urban Planning is a multi-disciplinary process. Social-economic, environmental and natural resources issues need to be considered to ensure urban... Sample PDF
An ePlanning Case Study in Stuttgart Using OPPA 3D
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Chapter 14
Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Maria Manta Conroy
Municipalities often struggle to provide citizen participation opportunities that are informative and engaging. E-government tools hold the... Sample PDF
Local Government Experiences with ICT for Participation
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Chapter 15
Michael J. Jensen
This chapter analyzes the “impact” of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on local government officials’ policy decision-making.... Sample PDF
Electronic Democracy and Citizen Influence in Government
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Chapter 16
Yu-Che Chen, Ashley Dorsey
To meet the current and future senior citizens’ demand for e-government, local governments will need to have a better understanding of their needs.... Sample PDF
E-Government for Current and Future Senior Citizens
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Chapter 17
Don-yun Chen, Tong-yi Huang, Naiyi Hsiao, Tze-Luen Lin, Chung-Pin Lee
This chapter introduces a case of e-deliberation in Taiwan. Democratic deepening can be achieved by the application of information and communication... Sample PDF
Experimental E-Deliberation in Taiwan: A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Citizens' Conferences in Beitou, Taipei
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Chapter 18
Greg Streib, Ignacio Navarro
The development of e-government has attracted considerable scholarly interest in recent years, but relatively little has been written about the... Sample PDF
City Managers and E-Government Development: Assessing Technology Literacy and Leadership Needs
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Chapter 19
Zhenyu Huang
This chapter presents a comprehensive analysis of the 3,099 U.S. counties’ adoption and diffusion of e-government and the functions provided by... Sample PDF
U.S. Counties' Efforts and Results: An Empirical Research on Local Adoption and Diffusion of E-Government
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Chapter 20
Suzanne J. Piotrowski, Erin L. Borry
Government websites are quickly becoming the first point of contact for citizens and visitors seeking information. Local government websites’... Sample PDF
Transparency and Local Government Websites
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Chapter 21
Marc Holzer, Aroon Manoharan
The chapter is based on the results of an international survey of municipal Web portals conducted through a collaboration between the E-Governance... Sample PDF
E-Governance and Quality of Life: Associating Municipal E-Governance with Quality of Life Worldwide
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Chapter 22
Mete Yildiz
This chapter presents an analysis of local e-government adoption and implementation in Turkey. To this end, academic articles, various laws, and... Sample PDF
An Overview of Local E-Government Adoption and Implementation in Turkey
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Chapter 23
Bekir Parlak, Zahid Sobaci
This chapter aims to evaluate the e-government practices in metropolitan municipalities in Turkey by determining functionality levels of... Sample PDF
The Functionality of Website-Based Services of Metropolitan Municipalities in Turkey
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Chapter 24
Patrizia Lombardi, Ian Cooper, Krassimira Paskaleva-Shapira, Mark Deakin
Harnessing ICTs effectively is one of the main vehicles for achieving the EU’s 2010 strategy to become the most competitive digital knowledge-based... Sample PDF
The Challenge of Designing User-Centric E-Services: European Dimensions
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Chapter 25
Raoul J. Freeman
This chapter reviews various strategic frameworks for e-government which include goals and objectives. Among typical goals are the following... Sample PDF
Goals Measurement and Evaluation of E-Gov Projects
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Chapter 26
Jussi S. Jauhiainen, Tommi Inkinen
Finland is among the leading information societies. The national information society strategy aims to make the information society accessible by... Sample PDF
E-Governance and the Information Society in Periphery
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Chapter 27
Sean M. Bossinger
Free, libre, or open source software (FLOSS) offers the promise of cost-free, modifiable, high-quality software, for a multitude of tasks (e.g.... Sample PDF
Open Source Software Use in Local Governments
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Chapter 28
Mark Cassell
This chapter examines empirically, the intended and unintended consequences that occur when a local government chooses to migrate away from a... Sample PDF
When Local Governments Choose Open Source Technology
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Chapter 29
The Wireless City  (pages 554-568)
Sukumar Ganapati, Christian F. Schoepp
In this chapter, we explore the evolution of wireless broadband networks in cities. We examine the technological alternatives for city-wide... Sample PDF
The Wireless City
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Chapter 30
Paul M.A. Baker, Avonne Bell, Nathan W. Moon
This chapter presents the results of an examination of the current state of U.S. municipal wireless network design and policies with regards to... Sample PDF
Accessibility Issues in Municipal Wireless Networks
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Chapter 31
Roland J. Cole, Isabel A. Cole, Jennifer A. Kurtz
The key reason for including this chapter in this book is that the development of more advanced forms of e-government requires that residences have... Sample PDF
Municipal Efforts to Promote Residential Broadband
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Chapter 32
Jenni Viitanen, Richard Kingston
This chapter will discuss the implications of the network society paradigm for e-government and the role of ICTs in the regeneration of urban... Sample PDF
The Role of Public Participation GIS in Local Service Delivery
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Chapter 33
Terry Murphy
Geographical Information System (GIS) technology applications for use in the field of economic development are relatively new. Local economic... Sample PDF
GIS: Changing the Economic Development World
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Chapter 34
Paul T. Jaeger
Many residents and local communities rely on public libraries for access to and training to use e-government. Many local governments direct citizens... Sample PDF
Public Libraries and Local E-Government
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Chapter 35
Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, M. Themistocleous
Literature indicates that Local Government Authorities (LGAs) have problems in meeting citizens’ demands. This may be attributed to the limitations... Sample PDF
Investigating Enterprise Application Integration Adoption in the Local Government Authorities
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Chapter 36
Jeffrey Roy
This chapter will compare the emergence of e-government in Denmark and Canada with a particular emphasis on the municipal and inter-governmental... Sample PDF
Enterprise Application Integration; Healthcare Organizations; Information Technology ; Large Organizations; Local Government Authorities
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Chapter 37
Genie N.L. Stowers
This case describes the case of a small California city, San Carlos, a continued early adopter in the e-government areas. The chapter asks the... Sample PDF
The Little City That Could: The Case of San Carlos, California
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Chapter 38
Howard A. Frank
ActiveStrategy’s performance management application deploys the widely utilized Balanced Scorecard framework in a dashboard platform designed to... Sample PDF
Implementing ActiveStrategy in Miami-Dade County
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Chapter 39
Greta Nasi
The purpose of this chapter is to assess the current status and level of technology in providing on line services among larger Italian... Sample PDF
E-Government and Local Service Delivery: The Case of Italian Local Governments
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Chapter 40
Andreas Ask, Mathias Hatakka, Åke Grönlund
This chapter discusses practices, opportunities, and challenges in local e-government project management by means of a case study involving... Sample PDF
The Örebro City Citizen-Oriented E-Government Strategy
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Chapter 41
Ik Jae Chung
As a nationwide e-government project in South Korea, the Information Network Village project was launched in 2001. It was designed to increase... Sample PDF
Toward E-Government Sustainability: The Information Network Village Project in South Korea
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Chapter 42
Samiaji Sarosa, Jenjang Sri Lestari
This chapter examined the state of Jogjakarta’s local governments Web sites (i.e, Bantul, Sleman, Kulon Progo, City of Jogjakarta and The Special... Sample PDF
The Level and Impact of Web Based E-Government Adoption: The Case of Jogjakarta's Local Governments
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Chapter 43
Maniam Kaliannan, Hazman Shah Abdullah, Murali Raman
Despite the many quarrels and complaints about the quality of local government in Malaysia, it continues to be an important part of the overall... Sample PDF
Local E-Government in Malaysia: An Empirical Investigation
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Chapter 44
Sam Lubbe, Shawren Singh
This chapter explores the issues of the interface between Information Systems (IS) and society. We investigate IS and users of these systems at a... Sample PDF
From Conception to Demise: Implications for Users of Information Systems in Changing a Local Parastatal Educational Institution in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Chapter 45
José Rodrigues Filho, João Rodrigues dos Santos Junior
E-government has the potential to enhance democracy and transparency, increasing opportunities for citizen interaction. Literature has given many... Sample PDF
Local E-Government in Brazil: Poor Interaction and Local Politics as Usual
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Chapter 46
R. K. Mitra, M. P. Gupta, G. P. Sahu
While Information Technology (IT) is being embraced by various wings of the government, the police in India have however, been slow to adopt IT. The... Sample PDF
Indian Police E-Government System: A Study of Provincial Police
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Chapter 47
Arla Juntunen
There are still only few studies of the cooperation and collaboration of the governmental agencies and local authorities. This chapter presents a... Sample PDF
Joint Service Development with the Local Authorities
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About the Contributors