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Experience in Western countries indicates representative democracy usually sacrifices equality with participation. The prevalence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), World Wide Web (WWW) in particular, has opened a window of opportunities for solving the dilemma in representative democracy. To explore the opportunities and challenges WWW has brought to direct participation, we utilize Taipei City Mayor’s Electronic Mail Box (TCME) as a case for investigation. In this study, we conduct documentary analysis, a self-administered survey on staffs dealing with letters sent to TCME and three electronic surveys on citizens who sent mails to TCME. Our findings are generally in line with the predictions suggested by scholars. The speediness, directness, and boundlessness of ICTs provide a free public forum and an access by which citizens can contact government agencies without mediation by parties, politicians or the

* Paper delivered at Conference on “Information and Politics”, sponsored by Graduate School of Political

Science, Fou-guang Univesity, Yi-lan County, April 11-12, 2002. The authors appreciate the support of Research Development and Evaluation Commission and Computation Center of Taipei City Government.

We also thank the assistance in data processing by Mr. Guo Zheng-wei and Ms. Tsai Shan-pei of the Department of Policy and Management of Shih Hsin University.

** Tong-yi Huang and Nai-yi Hsiao are Assistant Professors and Don-yun Chen is Associate Professor of the Department of Public Policy and Management of Shih Hsin University.

legislature. By providing automation function and cutting down the cost of paper

∕printing and data processing, ICTs not only enable government to extend its services but also substantially lower the cost of participation both for citizens and bureaucracy. On the other hand, our findings also show that increasing participation has overloaded the government. Easy access to Internet also breeds citizens’ unrealistic expectation toward government and deepens the digital divide.

We suggest the Taipei City Government should develop knowledge management technique to lessen the load of TCME. To shorten the gap between “information haves” and “information have nots” the Taipei City Government should equally treat appeals and complains from different channels and lower the threshold to access TCME.

Key words: political participation, WWW, electronic government, citizen complains, TCME

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

網際網路時代公民直接參與的機會與挑戰—台北市「市長電子信箱」的個案研究

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