Skipping Ahead to the Good Part

The Role of Civic Technology in Achieving the Promise of E-Government

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Emily Shaw

E-government evolution has been described as a government’s internal process of digital development, which eventually transforms its ability to respond to the public. As time goes by and these promised benefits have yet to fully materialize, civic technology—online tools that aim to achieve improved online interaction between governments and the public—is sometimes placed in the gap. This study provides findings from 38 interviews across five US municipal civic technology implementations, answering the question of whether US cities which have adopted civic technology tools enjoy improved two-way interactions between governments and the public, and also whether an “interaction-first” approach to government digitization appears to spur additional e-government development. By selecting five very different tool implementations, the research design employs Mill’s Method of Difference to isolate commonalities springing simply from a municipality’s implementation of a civic technology tool. Interviews reveal a range of common effects beyond the simple improvement of the service-delivery experience.


  1. Introduction
  2. An Alternate Path to Achieving the Benefits of E-Government
  3. Research Method
  4. Findings
    1. Benefits from Implementing Civic Technology Tools
    2. Challenges from Civic Technology Implementation
  5. Discussion
  6. Conclusion
    1. About the Author
    2. References

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