Cascades and the Political blogosphere by Jeff Swift


FM VOL 16-12 DESEMBRE 2011

Despite the fact that political blogs seem to be just as dominated by elites as traditional journalism, networks of individuals play an essential role in spreading arguments in the political blogosphere. The hyperlinking economy of political blogs is powered by competition, elevation, and access. This economy values networks of individuals just as much as — if not more than — it values elite top–tier bloggers.

Jeff Swift is a Ph.D. student in the Communicaton, Rhetoric & Digital Media program at North Carolina State University.
E–mail: jswift8@gmail.com

Hollande in the footsteps of Obama?

Alongside the official website campaign, francoishollande.fr, the team of the socialist candidate for the French presidential election has just launched "toushollande", a website for mobilizing activists. The objective is to organizing door to door and convince at least 5 million people to vote for him. Through targeting of priority areas with high potential to mobilize 10,000 activists will be trained to recruit 150,000 volunteers to go and meet directly voters. it is also possible to forward content to Facebook friends, invite them to join the candidate Facebook page, or make a donation.

The strategy is directly inspired by the Obama campaign of 2008, which had shown that 14 abstainer met personally had moved to vote, 10,000 times more efficient than leaflets. The French socialist team is also accompanied by Blue State Digital, the agency headed by the Obama former online campaign director, Joe Rospars, who came to Paris himself. The Internet campaign of Francois Hollande has a budget of 2 M¼ and led by 35 people.


Why do small states have big governments?

Karen L. Remmer (2010).
Issue 01, March 2010 pp 49-71

Building on the literature on public finance, this article explores the consequences of political scale for government spending. The central argument is that the tendency for small political units to have big governments is not merely the result of economies of scale in the provision of public goods, but a reflection of the greater pressures for public spending faced by politicians in smaller and more homogeneous political units.

The importance of such political pressures relative to other influences on spending is assessed on the basis of subnational data by comparing the relationship between size and spending under democracy and dictatorship. To the extent that government expansion is driven by citizen demands, the impact of size on spending may be expected to be more pronounced under democratic than authoritarian governance.

Results from a time-series cross-sectional analysis of growth in government spending are consistent with this expectation. Government growth is shaped not only by the population size of political units but also by the interaction between regime and size. Analysis of spending patterns under democratic rule further indicates that size is an important determinant of spending even after controlling for variations in citizen preferences, political institutions, electoral competitiveness, and economic performance.

The results have important theoretical implications for the study of fiscal policy and democratic governance around the world because they suggest that political scale conditions the linkages between citizens and the state, creating widely varying incentives for government growth across differently sized political units.

small states; government size; political scale; government spending; fiscal policy