The Structural Relationship between Politicians' Web Visibility and Political Finance


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The Structural Relationship between Politicians' Web Visibility and Political Finance

  1. 1. The Structural Relationship between Politicians' Web Visibility and Political Finance<br />A Case Study onSouth Korea's National Assembly Members<br />Yon Soo Lim,Ting Wang,&Han Woo Park <br />WCU WebometricsInstitutute<br />Yeungnam University<br />E-mail:<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />The development of Internet communication technology facilitates mediatization of politics. <br />Network society describes the aspects of modern society as an interrelated social structure that is derived from the mediatizedcommunication relationships specifically via the Internet. <br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />Although current political communication studies examine the social influence of the Internet on politics, majority ignores structural (networked) properties. <br />This study examines the structural relationships between online and offline political power on the basis of network characteristics. <br />
  4. 4. Political Finance<br />The power of money<br />Traditionally, the level of political finance has been regarded as a crucial indicator of political power. <br />Public support<br />Political activities (i.e. campaigning) resource<br />Although the relationship between political finance and election is ambiguous, the money power is still considered an indicator of offline political power. <br />
  5. 5. Web Visibility<br />Web visibility as an indicator of online political power<br />Presence or appearance of actors or issues being discussed by the public (Internet users) on the web. <br />Tracking web visibility is powerful way to get an insight into public reactions to actors or issues. <br />Recent studies indicates the positive relationships between politicians’ web visibility level and election. <br />Also, the co-occurrence web visibility between two politicians represents their hidden online political relationships based on the public perception. <br />
  6. 6. Political role of the Internet<br />Normalization perspective: <br />Internet may reflect the traditional power structure among individual politicians. <br />Equalization (Innovation) perspective: <br />Internet may reform the offline hierarchical structure of individual politicians.<br />
  7. 7. Research Objective<br />The purpose of this study is to investigate the structural relationship between the co-occurrence web visibility network of Korean National Assembly Members and the dyadic difference network of their political finance received from the public.<br />It will provide a comparison between online and offline political structures in South Korea as well as a theoretical argument on the political role of Internet. <br />
  8. 8. Method<br />Data<br />Subject:<br />18th Korean National Assembly members elected in April 2008.<br />278 members were examined (January 26, 2010). <br />Data<br />2008 Political Finance data from Korean National Election Commission (<br />Demographic attributes: gender & age<br />Political attributes: consecutive incumbent, constituency, committee, & party affiliation<br />Gathered from National Assembly’s official site ( and the politicians’ homepages. <br />
  9. 9. Method<br />Data gathering for web visibility (co-occurrence)<br />A popular Korean-language based search engines<br /> &<br />API-based programs by WWI<br />Search query:<br />Politician A’s name ANDB’s name AND “의원 (National Assembly member)”<br />Collected across different web platforms including blog, image, news, and website. <br />Search date:Jan. 30, 2010<br />
  10. 10. Analysis<br />Correlation analysis (Pearson & Spearman)<br />Identify the relationships among political finance, web centrality, (eigenvector) and vote<br />Quadratic assignment procedure (QAP) correlation<br />Identify the structural relationships between political finance and web co-occurrence<br />Additionally, other dyadic difference networks based on politicians’ attributes (gender, age, consecutive incumbent, party affiliation, constituency, and committee) were considered<br />
  11. 11. Results – Pearson & Spearman Correlation<br />Pearson Correlation<br />Spearman Correlation<br />Note. * p<.05, ** p<.01<br />
  12. 12. Results – Path Analysis<br />.18<br />.03<br />.42**<br />.18**<br />Web<br />Visibility<br />Political<br />Finance<br />Vote<br />Political finance’s indirect effect = .076<br />Note. ** p<.01<br />
  13. 13. Results–Web Visibility (co-occurrence)<br />
  14. 14. Results–Political Finance<br />
  15. 15. Results – QAP Correlation<br />Note. * p<.05, ** p<.01<br />
  16. 16. Findings<br />Pearson & Spearman correlation:<br />A positive direction, indicating that politicians with a central position of the web visibility network receive more financial donation than those with a peripheral position.<br />Online power is significantly related to the number of votes, but offline power is not. <br />However, the indirect impact of political finance on election can be assumed. <br />
  17. 17. Findings<br />QAP correlation<br />A significant relationship between web visibility and political finance networks.<br />The more the web visibility between politicians, the less the gap of their financial amount.<br />Web visibility and political finance networks are significantly related to most socio-political attribute networks (except gender network). <br />
  18. 18. Discussion<br />This studysystematically examined the structural relationships between online (web visibility) and offline (political finance) political power networks. <br />The results reveals that online and offline power structures are significantly correlated to each other. <br />This study supports the normalization argument that the Internet is a replication of the real world rather than the equalization perspective that the Internet will reform the offline hierarchical structure of individual politicians.<br />
  19. 19. Limitations and Future Studies<br />Future studies should consider more comprehensive networks (e.g. public donation network, online supporters network, etc.). <br />Future studies should employ a longitudinal approach considering the network changes over time.<br />Future studies should considera mixed approach between qualitative and quantitative on the web visibility measure.<br />
  20. 20. Thank you for your attention.<br />