E. SCOTT ALDER, CHARITI E. GENT, AND CARY B. OVERMEYER
The Home Style Homepage:
Legislator Use of the World Wide Web for Constituency Contact
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:585-95

The Internet not only provides a low cost and increasingly popular medium for legislators to interact with constituents, but also an opportunity for researchers to test established theories of "home style" using a much larger group of elected officials. Examining the Web sites of members of the House of Representatives during the Internet’s introduction into Congress (June through August of 1997), we address two questions: (1) What factors influence members to invest scarce resources in an official congressional homepage? (2) Of those who go "online," why do some members emphasize constituent casework while others do not? Our findings confirm that legislators use the World Wide Web much as they do other means of constituent contact. Republicans, younger legislators and representatives of more affluent populations are more likely to have homepages. Of those who have a homepage, Democrats and members from electorally marginal districts are more likely to use that Web site to solicit casework.


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