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How the Internet Affects Political Communication of Individuals - A Longitudinal Survey of Onliners and Offliners
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-6-10602 7 Table 2: Digital divide Social groups 2001 Absolute increase (percentage points) Relative increase (% against 2001) 2002 Internet users in the sample 37,6 % 8,0 % 21,3 % 45,6 % Internet users ... Among males Among females 50,0 %26,2 % 9,0 %7,6 % 18,0 %29,0 % 59,1 %33,8 % Internet users ... In Erfurt (East-Germany) In Kassel (West-Germany) 37,0 %38,3 % 7,0 %9,4 % 18,9 %24,5 % 44,0 %47,7 % Internet users among people with basic school education (9 yrs.) middle school diploma (10 yrs.) highschool diploma (12/13 yrs.) university graduation 11,1 %34,0 %53,6 %51,0 % 8,3 %8,2 %8,0 %8,4 % 74,8 %24,1 %14,9 %16,5 % 19,4 %42,2 %61,6 %59,4 % Internet users among people ... From 16 – 25 years From 26 – 45 years From 46 – 65 years Above 65 years 66,1 %56,2 %27,9 % 3,0% 5,1 % 10,7 % 8,7 %2,3 % 7,7 % 19,0 %31,2 %76,7 % 71,2 %66,9 %36,6 % 5,3 % N = 743 People with lower educational status catched up to a certain extent. The absolute increase in access rates is the same across all groups, but that means the relative increase is much higher among people with a lower educational status. Whether this means the educational divide will vanish completely or not is not clear; it is likely that an educational divide may remain for a longer period of time. An educational divide can also be observed in another respect: with respect to usage of online-communication, not of the mere access to the Internet: higher educated Internet users are more likely to talk about politics over the Internet than less educated people. Even if the number of observations is rather small due to the small number of Internet users with a low- level education in our sample, this might be an indication for a more important sort of divide than the simple divide in Internet access. 4.3 Online-Activities: Substitute or Supplement to Conventional Activities? If we want to know what happens if a person gets access to the internet at a particular moment, we must look at that part of our sample that received the „treatment“ of getting online access between the first and second wave of our survey. We call them „accessors“. But changes of their behavior could be caused by external influences like special events in the society. So we have to compare the changes in the group of „accessors“ with the changes in a control group of the „permanent non-users“ which serves as an indicator for possible external influences. What we show in the following is the „delta“ - the difference - between the change

Authors: Emmer, Martin. and Vowe, Gerhard.
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ICA-6-10602
7
Table 2: Digital divide

Social groups
2001
Absolute increase
(percentage points)
Relative increase
(% against 2001)
2002
Internet users in the sample
37,6 %
8,0 %
21,3 %
45,6 %
Internet users ...
Among males
Among females
50,0 %
26,2 %
9,0 %
7,6 %
18,0 %
29,0 %
59,1 %
33,8 %
Internet users ...
In Erfurt (East-Germany)
In Kassel (West-Germany)
37,0 %
38,3 %
7,0 %
9,4 %
18,9 %
24,5 %
44,0 %
47,7 %
Internet users among people with
basic school education (9 yrs.)
middle school diploma (10 yrs.)
highschool diploma (12/13 yrs.)
university graduation
11,1 %
34,0 %
53,6 %
51,0 %
8,3 %
8,2 %
8,0 %
8,4 %
74,8 %
24,1 %
14,9 %
16,5 %
19,4 %
42,2 %
61,6 %
59,4 %
Internet users among people ...
From 16 – 25 years
From 26 – 45 years
From 46 – 65 years
Above 65 years
66,1 %
56,2 %
27,9 %
3,0%
5,1 %
10,7 %
8,7 %
2,3 %
7,7 %
19,0 %
31,2 %
76,7 %
71,2 %
66,9 %
36,6 %
5,3 %
N = 743
People with lower educational status catched up to a certain extent. The absolute increase in
access rates is the same across all groups, but that means the relative increase is much higher
among people with a lower educational status. Whether this means the educational divide will
vanish completely or not is not clear; it is likely that an educational divide may remain for a
longer period of time.
An educational divide can also be observed in another respect: with respect to usage of
online-communication, not of the mere access to the Internet: higher educated Internet users
are more likely to talk about politics over the Internet than less educated people. Even if the
number of observations is rather small due to the small number of Internet users with a low-
level education in our sample, this might be an indication for a more important sort of divide
than the simple divide in Internet access.
4.3 Online-Activities: Substitute or Supplement to Conventional Activities?
If we want to know what happens if a person gets access to the internet at a particular
moment, we must look at that part of our sample that received the „treatment“ of getting
online access between the first and second wave of our survey. We call them „accessors“. But
changes of their behavior could be caused by external influences like special events in the
society. So we have to compare the changes in the group of „accessors“ with the changes in a
control group of the „permanent non-users“ which serves as an indicator for possible external
influences. What we show in the following is the „delta“ - the difference - between the change


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