Pedro Fierro, Patricio Aroca and Patricio Navia
New Media & Society
Recent works have coined the term Online Political Efficacy (OPE) to assess the impact of Internet use on the perceived political empowerment of citizens. As the classic concept of political efficacy distinguishes between internal (IPE) and external (EPE) efficacies, we seek to confirm the usefulness of a new indicator of political efficacy for online engagement and assess the impact of the territory where people reside on OPE. Although OPE is mostly explained by the same determinants that account for IPE, the center-periphery divide influences OPE and IPE in opposite directions. Those who reside in the territorial—and political—periphery believe more strongly that they can use Internet to participate in public affairs (OPE), though they do not feel more competent in doing so (IPE). The democratizing power of Internet helps bridge the center-periphery social and political territorial divide.
Civic engagement, digital divide, Internet, online political efficacy, political attitudes, territory