Differential Effects of Capital-Enhancing and Recreational Internet Use on Citizens’ Demand for Democracy

Elizabeth Stoycheff*, Erik C. Nisbet, Dmitry Epstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study seeks to contribute to the growing body of scholarship about the Internet’s role in authoritarian and transitioning countries. Based on two original surveys of Russian and Ukrainian Internet users, online behaviors were classified as either primarily capital enhancing or recreational in terms of their democratic potential. Indirect and differential models of how these types of Internet use are associated with citizen demand for democracy were tested using serial mediation. Capital-enhancing use exhibited an indirect positive effect on demand for democratic governance by increasing critical appraisals of the incumbent regime, whereas recreational Internet was associated with satisfactory evaluations of non-democratic regimes and more entrenched authoritarian worldviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1055
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Research
Volume47
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • authoritarian
  • democracy
  • Internet
  • Russia
  • social media
  • Ukraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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