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Award Winning Research on Technology and Governance

Kaylyn Jackson Schiff, Assistant Professor, received the 2023 American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Award for Best Doctoral Dissertation in the Field of Public Administration for her dissertation titled “The Digital Citizen: The Impact of Technology on Public Participation and Government Responsiveness.” Her research examines how innovative technological developments such as information and communication technologies used by governments inform and mobilize citizen participation which, in turn, shapes government accountability and responsiveness to its citizens.    

Dr. Schiff joined Purdue in 2022 after completing her PhD at Emory University in 2022. She studies American politics and policy with a focus on the effect of emerging technology on society and governance. She held a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University during 2022-2023. At Purdue, she co-Directs the Governance and Responsible AI Lab (GRAIL) and engages in collaborative research on the social, ethical, and governance implications of artificial intelligence.  


Leonard D. White Award for Best Dissertation in the Field of Public Administration 
“The Digital Citizen: The Impact of Technology on Public Participation and Government Responsiveness.” 
Dr. Kaylyn Jackson Schiff, Purdue University 


Accountability and responsiveness require citizens to monitor representatives' actions and representatives to know citizens' preferences.  However, low participation rates and limited responsiveness by public officials often characterize citizen-government interactions.  What does technological development, specifically the recent proliferation of information and communications technology (ICT) for citizen-government contact, imply for these longstanding features of politics?  I address this question through three papers considering three potential transformative impacts of technology on politics: changes to 1) the information available to government on citizen preferences and needs, 2) the information available to citizens about government performance, and 3) the channels through which citizens and government can communicate.  Moreover, the applications that I study highlight three specific ways that online communication differs from traditional offline communication: 1) publicity, 2) ease of access and use, and 3) speed.  The first paper shows that new digital platforms, specifically mobile apps to submit service requests, can facilitate collaborative political participation that elevates the publicity of certain important issues, provides additional information to government about citizen priorities, and improves government responsiveness as a result.  The second paper reveals that when information about government performance is more accessible and intelligible to members of the public through online platforms, more citizens may participate in elections, public meetings, and other forums to hold elected officials accountable.  Finally, the last paper considers how policymakers make assumptions about messenger identity and the perceived costliness of sending messages through online and offline channels, finding evidence of a preference for interacting with supporters rather than engaging with more costly channels.  I complement these papers with a discussion of the equity implications of technology for democracy.  Altogether, this work explores the promises and pitfalls of technology as a driver of democratic participation, representation, and responsiveness.