E-mail communication and the policy process in the state legislature

Lilliard E. Richardson, Christopher A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


E-mail has changed the policy process in state legislatures because political actors now have a new way to present their message to state legislators. What little research has been conducted on this topic examines e-mail communication generally and does not compare results by policy actor. Using an original survey of state legislators in eight states, we test for systematic effects of variables on general e-mail views and for effects specific to particular policy actors. We find that legislators have a nuanced approach to e-mail usage in the policy process with their assessment of its impact differing significantly for constituents, intermediary groups, and policy insiders. Only gender consistently shapes legislators' beliefs about e-mail with all groups, but institutional features, legislator characteristics, and legislator beliefs shape views on e-mail with different target groups. Clearly, legislators are attuned to the audience communicating via e-mail, and they value e-mail with each group differently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-129
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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