Web site blocking as a proxy of policy alignment
This work introduces a new metric of policy alignment between states: Web site blocking. Intuitively, we measure the degree to which states block similar content. This metric speaks to the flow of information in the digital layer of international politics, an element of international trade and cooperation that existing metrics fail to capture. In addition, our measure can be constantly scraped and updated, offering a higher temporal resolution than existing metrics. Our work suggests a link between Internet governance and other issues in international relations (e.g., trade). Since our metric can be updated in real time, future work could use our metric to detect geopolitical shifts more rapidly than would otherwise be possible.
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