e-Citizenship: Trust, Efficacy, and Participation in the Internet Era
This article examines the changing relationship of the United States Federal government and the American public over the internet. The concepts of trust in government and political efficacy are used to construct a theoretical framework to study this relationship. After defining these concepts, a typology of high and low levels of trust in government and political efficacy is explained to characterize responses from research participants. Each type of American citizen, characterized by high or low levels of trust and efficacy, is associated with a set of properties regarding political interest and activity, derived from theories of trust in government and political efficacy. Data from the original “Trust and Online Engagement” survey is used to uncover relationships between different internet uses and sample distribution among the theoretical types defined by high or low levels of trust and efficacy. Additionally, in order to ensure the applicability of the theoretical types to the sample, political characteristics associated with each type are operationalized and tested against the survey sample, revealing both the viability of the typology and the strength of political efficacy over trust in government in determining political interest and participation among the internet-active American public.