Understanding of modern government is limited by a lack of comprehensive, reliable, comparable data on what governments do and how they are organized to execute their diverse responsibilities. We demonstrate that such data can be collected from the extensive footprint that governments leave on the Internet, opening a range of unresolved puzzles and questions about modern government to closer empirical inquiry. The online footprint of the 50 US state governments reflects their close embeddedness with state economies and suggests that other factors widely hypothesized to influence government play more limited roles, including location and income. It also casts doubt on the degree to which state government functional structures systematically reflect voters’ recent ideological preferences.
Functional structures of US state governments
Stephen Kosack, Michele Coscia, Evann Smith, Kim Albrecht, Albert-László Barabási, and Ricardo Hausmann
PNAS November 13, 2018 115 (46) 11748-11753; published ahead of print October 29, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1803228115