Institutional Trust, Education, and Corruption: a Micro-Macro Interactive Approach

with Armen Hakhverdian

Journal of Politics External Link

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Abstract
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 Geissel

International Political Science Review External Link

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Abstract
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

Handbook on Political Trust, eds. Sonja Zmerli and Tom van der Meer External Link 

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Ideological Congruence and Citizen Satisfaction: Evidence from 25 Advanced Democracies

with Armen Hakhverdian

Comparative Political Studies External Link

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Abstract
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 Geissel

Politics and Governance External Link

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Abstract
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.

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Symposium on the Politics of Local Public-Sector Reform: A Global Perspective on Local Government Reinvigoration

with Eran Vigoda-Gadot

International Public Management Journal External Link

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State Capabilities for Problem-Oriented Governance

with Jorrit de Jong and Fernando Fernández-Monge

Perspectives on Public Management and Governance External Link

Practitioner Guide: “Tackling Big, Thorny Problems By Building the Capabilities Your Organization Needs” External Link

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Abstract
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 External Link

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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.

Subnational Economic Conditions and the Changing Geography of Mass Euroscepticism: A Longitudinal Analysis

with Alexia Katsanidou

European Journal of Political Research External Link

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Abstract
Existing research mainly analyzes mass attitudes towards the European Union (EU) from the national and individual-level perspective. This paper adds to this literature by focusing on the relationship between EU support and subnational economic conditions, using harmonized survey data covering 40 years and 1.1 million respondents in 197 European regions. We first describe Europe’s changing subnational conditions in terms of catch-up, wealthy, declining, and glass-ceiling regions. The paper then develops and tests a set of hypotheses regarding the temporally dynamic relationship between EU attitudes and regions’ long- and short-term economic conditions. Our analyses reveal important longitudinal variations in this relationship with low levels of geographic differentiation in public opinion giving way to clear spatial differences in recent years. Our findings are consistent with the idea that the Great Recession and Brexit have generated a new geography of both Euroscepticism in Europe’s declining
regions and EU support in its wealthy and catch-up regions.

Where You Sit Is Where You Stand: Education-Based Descriptive Representation and Perceptions of Democratic Quality

with Yvette Peters

West European Politics External Link

Abstract
In recent years, scholars of descriptive representation have paid growing attention to the issue of class. This paper contributes to this line of research by examining the educational (mis)match of elected officials and the citizens they serve. Using data from an original paired elite-mass survey experiment, the paper investigates whether judgements of democratic quality are affected by education-based descriptive representation. Our study reveals limited evidence in support of the idea that citizens’ and politicians’ democratic assessments are shaped by a norm of education-based descriptive representation. What we find instead is strong evidence of affinity effects where democratic judgments are influenced by whether descriptive representation, or the lack thereof, favors citizens and politicians based on their own educational background. An important exception though are citizens without higher education, whose assessments of democratic quality are unaffected by education-based descriptive representation. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings for existing and future research.

Satisfaction with Democracy: A Review of a Major Public Opinion Indicator

with Shane P. Singh

Public Opinion Quarterly External Link

SWD as DV library | SWD as IV library

Abstract
Satisfaction with democracy (SWD) is one of the most commonly studied topics in the fields of political behavior and public opinion. Gauged with a survey question that asks respondents whether they are satisfied with the way democracy works, SWD has featured as an independent or dependent variable in more than 400 publications. In this Synthesis, we review the evolution and findings of this nearly 50 year-old body of literature, identifying gaps and disagreements. We pay particular attention to issues of measurement and conceptualization, research methodology, and real-world importance. We conclude by highlighting critical areas of future research, including continued investigation into the measurement of SWD and what the question captures, more qualitative and (quasi-)experimental work, more focus on emotions and extreme (dis)satisfaction, and greater geographic coverage.