Measuring and Explaining the Quality of Web Sites in the (Virtual) House of Representatives
Kevin M. Esterling (University of California, Riverside, USA), David M.J. Lazer (Harvard University, USA) and Michael A. Neblo (Ohio State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2007
To date, research on e-government has devoted relatively little attention to how legislators use the Internet to enhance the representative function. In this chapter, we develop a general method to evaluate the quality of legislative Web sites and apply the method to the Web sites of members of the U.S. House of Representatives. We use a dichotomous latent variable model that combines a measurement model with a structural model to explain the variation in the quality of Web sites. We find the correlates of high quality Web sites include shorter tenure in office and closer electoral margin; the percentage of constituents who are connected to the Internet; and higher socio-economic status of the district. We propose this latent variable measurement approach as a general method for estimating the quality of Web sites for e-government research.