Skip to main content

"Predicting Online Political Participation: The Importance of Selection Bias and Selective Exposure in the Online Setting." 

Dr. Jessica Feezell

Cover of "Predicting Online Political Participation: The Importance of Selection Bias and Selective Exposure in the Online Setting." 

Although we have a broad understanding of the factors that predict traditional forms of political participation, we know comparatively less about the determinants of online political participation. Among the limited research that explores the predictors of online political participation, news seeking is often found to be an important factor; however, many studies fail to consider selective exposure and the distinct influence of differing types of information. In this study, I ask, “What factors predict online participation, and what role does selective exposure play in this relationship?” Using a nationally representative sample (N = 2,250) and a selection model to correct for biased estimates of online political participation, I find that online political participation is not well predicted by the same resource-related determinants that influence traditional participation; specifically, income and age are unrelated to online political participation among Internet users. Second, I find that exposure to political information that reinforces one’s point of view predicts higher levels of online political participation when compared with differing information or information with no point of view. Finally, I conduct a subset analysis of partisan identifiers to examine differences in these relationships among Republicans and Democrats.

Feezell, Jessica. 2016. "Predicting Online Political Participation: The Importance of Selection Bias and Selective Exposure in the Online Setting." Political Research Quarterly 69 (3): 495-509. 

 Available here