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Electronic Government at the American Grassroots

Date & Time:
17:00:00 - 18:00:00,
Monday 9 June, 2003


Within the past few years, scholarly attention has begun to focus on the issue of electronic government, or e-government. Defined as the electronic provision of information and services by governments 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, in theory e-government expands and extends the ability of governmental organizations to serve their constituencies. America’s grassroots governments, that is its general-purpose local governments, in particular, have rushed to join the e-government ‘revolution’. Nearly 90% of these governments have presences on the World Wide Web where they offer information or provide services. However, because e-government is relatively new (two-thirds of government web sites are six years old or less), little is actually known about e-government adoption and factors associated with adoption, the barriers that governments face when deploying e-government, the types of services provided through e-government, and impacts of e-government.

In this presentation, I will use data from two nationwide surveys of US local governments (2000 and 2002) and focus groups of local government CIOs and top administrative officials from 37 US city and county governments to examine the adoption of e-government by website sophistication, the perceived impacts of e-government, and barriers to the adoption and further sophistication of e-government. I will also discuss correlates of e-government adoption and sophistication (such as government size as measured by population, type and form of government, region of the country and metropolitan status).

US Local government e-government adoption is progressing rapidly (if measured solely by deployment of websites). However, the movement toward integrated and transactional e-government is progressing much more slowly. Barriers noted in surveys and focus groups may be among the chief reasons for this slow development. Continuing research is needed to monitor the further evolution of e-government among US local governments, especially to keep up with the practice and also to ascertain the actual impacts of e-government (as compared to the impacts found in the hype surrounding e-government).

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  • Name: Professor Donald Norris
  • Affiliation: Director of the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research
  • Role:
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  • Bio: Donald F. Norris is Director of the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (MIPAR) and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He is a specialist in urban politics, public management, and the application, uses and impacts of information technology in public organizations. He holds a BS in history from the University of Memphis and both an MA and a PhD in government from the University of Virginia. As MIPAR Director, he oversees the work of a research institute with current (FY 2003) annual external funding in excess of $5 million that is involved in projects in a wide range of subject areas. Additionally, he teaches public management, urban politics, and information technology courses and coordinates the urban policy and public management track in UMBC’s Department of Public Policy. Dr Norris has authored two books (Microcomputers and Local Government, 3d edn, 1989, and Police Community Relations: A Program That Failed, 1973), edited one (United States Energy Reality, 1978), co-edited another (The Politics of Welfare Reform, 1995) and has contributed chapters to 18 others.