Building on Success: The Diffusion of e‑Government in the American States


  • Hyun Jung Yun
  • Cynthia Opheim


e-government, e-service, e-democracy, internet technology, emulation, leadership, professional networks


The purpose of this study is to determine what factors encourage the diffusion of Internet technology, or e‑government, in the American states. Different dimensions of digital technology are examined by investigating the spread of both e‑service and e‑democracy. A longitudinal mixed linear model is used to test the direct effects of states' political, economic, demographic, and ideological factors on the states' efforts to adopt Internet technology over the first seven years of the new millennium. The results indicate that the adoption of Internet technology is a cumulative process; a state's preexisting digitalization is continuously built on progress in expanding the governmental digital services and outreach. States whose leaders are engaged in professional networks are more likely to adopt e‑government. Institutionally powerful governors also encourage the adoption of on‑line technology. The study concludes that the spread of Internet technology in providing services and expanding outreach fits the explanatory analysis of noncontroversial policies that are diffused by a process of emulation. Executive power, leadership, and professional networks reinforce this pattern of emulation.



1 Mar 2010