Few will doubt the importance of the role that communication technology played in American politics in 2020. The Factors and Behaviors Associated with Legislator Use of Communication Technology examines the various factors and behaviors associated with legislator use of communication technology. Offering both macro and micro level perspectives as well as quantitative and qualitative data analyses, a broad perspective of the role that communication technology plays in driving legislator behavior is provided. Building a theoretical structure, this book begins with an examination of how communication technology can destabilize the policymaking process and offers an overview of media and policy process theories, and legislator roles and the association of these roles with the use of communication technology. Moving to the micro level, the authors present quantitative and qualitative evidence associated with legislator behaviors associated with the use of communication technology including compromise behaviors and political ideological polarization, closing with an examination of the use of communication technology by legislators during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
Joe West is professor of quantitative methods in the department of economics and decision sciences at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Jingjing Gao is doctoral candidate and research assistant in the public policy program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Sojin Jang is assistant professor at the department of political science and public administration in the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Chapter 1: Instabilities in the Policy Process: The Critical Frequency Theory
Chapter 2: Media and Policy Process Theories
Chapter 3: The Complexity of Legislative Roles, Information, and Communication Technology
Chapter 4: Communication Technology Associated Behaviors
Chapter 5: Communication Technology Use and Importance, Arizona State Legislators
Chapter 6: Communication Technology and Legislator Compromise
Chapter 7: Political Ideological Polarization and Internet Enabled Communication Technologies
Chapter 8: Communication Technologies During the COVID-19 Pandemic
West and Gao show that modern communication technologies change the fundamental nature of the interaction between legislators and constituents. And they show how: the unnatural nature of the communication process and the resulting information overload push legislators toward counterproductive shortcuts that distort the message. The book is a real breakthrough in our understanding of legislator-constituent linkages, as well as the role that modern communication technologies play in the representational process more broadly.