Does digital media use mobilize people into becoming more politically active – or does it reinforce the activism of people who are already politically active? In this seminar I present findings from a new meta-analysis of repeated-wave panel data studies that answers this important question (co-authored with Shelley Boulianne in Public Opinion Quarterly). The findings, based on 38 survey-based, repeated-wave panel studies provide new insight into the classic mobilization versus reinforcement debate: contrary to common assumption, the findings support a reinforcement effect, whereby those who are already politically active are motivated to use digital media. In the context of my broader research agenda on the relationship between political participation and policy outcomes, I conclude by discussing preliminary findings from a next-step meta-analysis that investigates political efficacy in relation to online and offline political participation.
Jennifer Oser is Senior Lecturer (equivalent to Assistant Professor) in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and a Senior Researcher for the Centre for Citizenship and Democracy at the University of Leuven (Belgium). She completed her Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and has conducted research as a Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard University and at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research agenda focuses on the relationships between public opinion, political participation, and policy outcomes. Specific topics within this broad interest include participatory inequality, citizenship norms and values, online political behavior, and the linkage mechanisms between citizen participation and policymaking. The geographic scope of this research is broadly comparative, with a specialized focus on political processes in the United States, Israel, and Europe.