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Yasmine Elkhateeb (CES)

Publié le 6 octobre 2023 Mis à jour le 6 octobre 2023
Le 12 octobre 2023 De 12:15 à 13:15
Pôle Tertiaire - Site La Rotonde - 26 avenue Léon Blum - 63000 Clermont-Ferrand
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Séminaire recherche. (Mis-)information technology: Internet use and perception of democracy in Africa

(Mis-)information technology: Internet use and perception of democracy in Africa 

Yasmine Elkhateeb

Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne, Université Paris I Sorbonne
Université du Caire

Coauteur·trice : Joël Cariolle et Mathilde Maurel


This paper examines the impact of using the Internet to access news on African citizens’ perception of democracy. We use cross-sectional data from the Afrobarometer survey, covering a sample of 35 African countries between 2011 and 2018. To account for possible endogeneity bias between Internet use and citizens’ perceptions, we employ an instrumental variable approach. Our findings indicate that using the Internet to get news has a significant negative effect on both preference for and perception of the extent of democracy. This negative effect is driven by two main factors. First, we find that the use of the Internet erodes confidence in governmental institutions, mainly parliament and the ruling party, and increases the perceived involvement of parliament members in corruption. Additionally, we show that this Internet-induced lower confidence translates into a higher political mobilization, i.e., both participation in demonstrations and voting intention. Second, the Internet appears to act as a potential misinformation channel. On the one hand, our study shows that the perception of the extent of democracy and of legislators’ corruption among Internet users diverges from experts’ ratings. On the other hand, we also demonstrate that Internet use increases the likelihood of incoherence in respondents’ stances regarding their preference for democracy. Our findings suggest that Internet use is not neutral and tends to undermine citizens’ preference for democracy while altering perceptions about the functioning of political institutions.