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Disentangling Digital Divide and Trust

Abstract : In Switzerland internet voting is currently being introduced in a piecemeal fashion. Since the first trials in 2003 an increasing number of Swiss cantons is offering the digital voting channel to its citizens either living in Switzerland or abroad. So far the question whether the introduction of internet voting in Switzerland would increase the digital divide, favoring the well educated, economically better off citizens could not be answered in a conclusive way. As yet bi- and multi-variate regression analyses of survey data showed that general trust in the internet and in internet voting in particular outweigh the effect of the typical digital divide variables. There is, however, so far no study trying to disentangle the two types of variables by applying structural equation modeling. In the present study we test whether digital divide variables have a direct effect on general support of internet voting in the Swiss population or whether they should rather be treated as exogenous variables of general trust in the Internet and of internet voting in particular. We therefore put forward a structural equation model which helps us to disentangle direct and indirect effects on internet voting affinity. In order to test our model we are using the first Swiss population survey exclusively conducted on the topic of internet voting in April 2016.
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Uwe Serdült, Thomas Milic. Disentangling Digital Divide and Trust. 9th International Conference on Electronic Participation (ePart), Sep 2017, St. Petersburg, Russia. pp.37-52, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-64322-9_4⟩. ⟨hal-01703325⟩

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