The evolution of E-Governance: Professor M. Jae Moon’s contribution
Professor M. Jae Moon is a pioneer in digital government research - he was awarded the Mosher Award and the Peter Boorman Award for International Scholar in 2009. More recently, in August 2018 he was named among the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government by the global policy platform Apolitical.
Professor Moon has served on various government committees, including the Presidential Council for Future and Strategy. He has also been involved in a number of consultancy projects for developing countries and international organizations such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
In 2002, Professor Moon reported his findings on how far U.S. municipal governments were embracing electronic government. Using data from a survey of almost 1,500 municipalities, he identified local governments’ actual progress toward implementing information technology. “At that early stage, most governments had not progressed beyond using IT for communication,” Professor Moon recalls, “and very few had a long-term strategic plan for their e-government initiatives.” Prominent challenges included a lack of technical expertise and financial resources, alongside security and privacy issues.
Through strategic deployment of information technology, governments can simplify and improve their transactions with citizens, businesses, and other governmental agencies.
Professor Moon’s 2002 paper has received more than 2,260 Google Scholar citations, making it the third-most cited paper on public administration between 1997 and 2015. An unprecedented achievement as no other paper on e-government has received more recognition by social scientists. He has since tracked the subsequent evolution of e-governance in the United States, Korea, and beyond focusing on how e-government relates to citizen satisfaction, trust, efficiency, procurement, bureaucracy, and use of mobile technology.
In 2017, Prof Moon extended his seminal work of 2002 with a study exploring the growing role of crowdsourcing and government-citizen collaborations through the web to design and deliver public services.
This “web-based co-production” is particularly relevant in Korea, where the government has been pursuing public sector reforms to increase openness, information sharing, and collaboration. Central to effective co-production are the amount of public information available to citizens and the extent of interaction between them and the government. For instance, the Korean government’s increasing provision of public data and policy support has enabled tech-savvy individuals and citizen groups to develop hundreds of public service apps.
Professor Moon found that there is a considerable scope to improve interaction between citizens and government in Korea. He calls on governments to incentivize citizens to collaborate in both designing and delivering public services and providing resources to nurture citizens’ technological capacity.
As the Director of the Institute for Future Government at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, he and his colleagues have investigated how the international regime affects the functions and policies of governments. He forecasts further changes in how governments operate, both driven and facilitated by ever-developing-information and communications technologies. “The e-government concept has already advanced to mobile government, or m-government, and ubiquitous government, or u-government,” he explains. “In line with trends in the commercial world, we can expect governments of the future to be data-driven.”
Updated in Feb 2019
Professor Jeonghye Choi