Electronic Consultations: Civic Engagement for Policy Crowdsourcing
Online consultations possess a number of inherent benefits. They can reduce transaction costs, increase participation rates, promote inclusion of diverse social groups, and accelerate feedback iterations. Therefore, this study focuses on online consultations as instruments of civic engagement for policy crowdsourcing, that is, collecting inputs for policy formulation.
In this respect, I pose this central research question: What conditions entail a successful participatory online policy formulation? Hypothetically, these might be specific technologies, procedural guidelines fostering deliberation and empowering participants, political willingness and accountability.
In terms of methodology, this inquiry is envisioned as essentially exploratory, aiming to reveal conditions that lead to a successful participatory online policy formulation. Primary data will be obtained from collaborative platforms and expert interviews. Individual e-consultation online platforms will be inspected to identify participation forms and obtain usage statistics. Additionally, self-reported usage statistics and impact statistics will be collected from online reports. Besides, expert interviews of stakeholders are supposed to provide insights into micro-level circumstances favourable for effective e-consultations. Finally, country-context macro data will be analysed too.