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Openness may not mean democratization - e-Grievance systems in their consequences

2013-09, Miscione, Gianluca, Pfeffer, Karin, Martinez, Javier, De, Rahul

E-government initiatives tend to come charged with expectations of improving the performance of public administrations by reducing inequalities in public service provision. The studies presented here elaborate on implications and consequences of systems to handle citizen complaints and public feedback related to the services provided to and managed for the population of different cities. Two cases from India and one from Europe have been chosen to explore what kind of consequences such systems can have in different settings. All cases are researched with a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Although such systems come wrapped within the rhetoric of universalism and more equitable access, empirical data show that, by facilitating 'participation of the fittest', they get exploited more effectively by those who are better off, already. Therefore bureaucracy tends to become more dependent on the social environment.