Institutional Trust, Education, and Corruption: a Micro-Macro Interactive Approach
with Armen Hakhverdian
This article examines how the effect of education on institutional trust varies cross-nationally as a function of the pervasiveness of public-sector corruption. We approach institutional trust as a performance-based evaluation of political institutions. Given their greater capacity to accurately assess the level of corruption coupled with their stronger commitment to democratic values, we hypothesize that higher-educated citizens should react differently to corruption from those with less education. Employing multilevel models we find that education has both a conditional and a conditioning effect on institutional trust. First, education is negatively related to institutional trust in corrupt societies and positively related to institutional trust in clean societies. Second, the corrosive effect of corruption on institutional trust worsens as education improves. The article ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the functioning of contemporary democracies.
Putting the demos back into the concept of democratic quality
with Brigitte GeisselAbstract
In this paper, we argue that the concept of democratic quality consists of two necessary, but independently insufficient, components. The first is an opportunity-structure component, which includes the institutional and structural opportunities that allow for democratic rule. The second is a citizen component, which refers to the ways in which citizens can and do breathe life into existing institutional opportunities for democratic rule. Based on work from political theory we show how different ontologies or models of democracy place different demands on citizens as much as they do on institutions. We demonstrate the need for quality-of-democracy research to engage with work in political behavior and political psychology, from which it has traditionally been disconnected. In doing so, we provide a parsimonious analytic framework for a theory-driven selection of indicators related to three key citizen dispositions: namely, democratic commitments, political capacities, and political participation. The paper ends with a brief discussion of important implications of our argument for the future study of democratic quality.
Education, Socialization, and Political Trust
with Armen Hakhverdian
Ideological Congruence and Citizen Satisfaction: Evidence from 25 Advanced Democracies
with Armen HakhverdianAbstract
Ideological congruence is an important and popular measure of the quality of political representation. The closer the match between the preferences of the public and those of elected elites, the better representative democracy is thought to function. Relatively little attention has been paid however to the effects of ideological congruence on political judgement. We address this gap by examining whether citizens use egocentric or sociotropic judgments of congruence to evaluate democratic performance. Using a variety of congruence measures, we find that citizens are unmoved by sociotropic congruence; however, our analyses provide clear evidence that egocentric congruence boosts citizen satisfaction, especially among political sophisticates. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for the study of ideological congruence and political representation.
Don’t Good Democracies Need “Good” Citizens? Citizen Dispositions and the Study of Democratic Quality
with Brigitte GeisselAbstract
This article advances the argument that quality of democracy depends not only on the performance of democratic institutions but also on the dispositions of citizens. We make three contributions to the study of democratic quality. First, we develop a fine-grained, structured conceptualization of the three core dispositions (democratic commitments, political capacities, and political participation) that make up the citizen component of democratic quality. Second, we provide a more precise account of the notion of inter-component congruence or “fit” between the institutional and citizen components of democratic quality, distinguishing between static and dynamic forms of congruence. Third, drawing on cross-national data, we show the importance of taking levels of inter-dispositional consistency into account when measuring democratic quality.
Reproduced (and abridged) in Measuring Democracy: Changing Perspectives on Democracy, Governance, and their Measurement, eds. Petra Guasti and Zdenka Mansfeldová. Prague: Czech Academy of Sciences.
Symposium on the Politics of Local Public-Sector Reform: A Global Perspective on Local Government Reinvigoration
with Eran Vigoda-Gadot
State Capabilities for Problem-Oriented Governance
with Jorrit de Jong and Fernando Fernández-MongeAbstract
Governments around the world are increasingly recognizing the power of problem-oriented governance as a way to address complex public problems. As an approach to policy design and implementation, problem-oriented governance radically emphasizes the need for organizations to continuously learn and adapt. Scholars of public management, public administration, policy studies, international development, and political science have made important contributions to this problem-orientation turn; however, little systematic attention has been paid to the question of the state capabilities that underpin problem-oriented governance. In this article, we address this gap in the literature. We argue that three core capabilities are structurally conducive to problem-oriented governance: a reflective-improvement capability, a collaborative capability, and a data-analytic capability. The article presents a conceptual framework for understanding each of these capabilities, including their chief constituent elements. It ends with a discussion of how the framework can advance empirical research as well as public-sector reform.
The Political-Economic Correlates of Discursive Engagement in Europe
with Shane P. Singh
Political Research Quarterly (forthcoming)Abstract
We examine the individual-level characteristics and political and economic conditions associated with talking about politics. To build our model of discursive engagement, we draw on existing research on political participation as well as our own theoretical reasoning. Our data cover two million individuals in 28 European countries over 45 years, and we employ a little-used approach to multilevel analysis that distinguishes variations in engagement attributable to cross-country differences from those stemming from within-country changes. Our primary findings reveal that elections, multiparty competition, economic recession, and unionization are positively associated with discursive engagement within countries but bear no observable relationship with discussion across countries. We also find that men, the higher educated, the middle aged, the employed, and students are less likely to eschew political discussion. Secondary analyses of narrower data sets indicate that, across countries, citizens are less likely to forgo political discussion where there is less income inequality and less corruption, while, within countries, political discussion is more likely in periods with higher ethnic diversity. Our approach is wide-ranging, but it is also deliberately correlational. Future observational and experimental studies might expand on and identify the causal underpinnings of the associations we establish here.