Social Information Behavior and the Democratic Process: Information Poverty, Normative Behavior, and Electronic Government in the United States

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Electronic government (e-government) is the provision of government information and services through the Internet to citizens and businesses and among government agencies. This electronic manifestation of government offers new levels of access to government information and services. However, if e-government usage is limited in certain segments of society, it is not achieving its egalitarian potential. Understanding reasons why people do not use e-government will facilitate the development of a more inclusive e-government that better fulfills its potential to deliver information to all citizens and increase participation in the democratic process. Two phenomena of information behavior, information poverty and normative behavior, may help explain why certain groups do not use e-government information. This article offers suggestions on how these concepts of information behavior can contribute to the e-government research agenda.