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HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Rafik Hariri Professor of the Practice of International Political Economy


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.


Kosack, Stephen, Michele Coscia, Evann Smith, Kim Albrecht, Albert-László Barabási, and Ricardo Hausmann. "Functional Structures of US State Governments." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115.46 (November 2018): 11748-11753.