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Responsiveness Beyond Policy Satisfaction – Does it Matter to Citizens?

Journal article
Authors Peter Esaiasson
Mikael Gilljam
Mikael J Persson
Published in Comparative Political Studies
Volume 50
Issue 6
Pages 739-765
ISSN 0010-4140
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 739-765
Language en
Keywords legitimacy, responsiveness, decision acceptance
Subject categories Political Science


Can politicians facilitate citizen acceptance of unwelcome policy decisions by acting responsively during the decision-making process? We suggest a framework to analyze the responsiveness-acceptance connection, and report findings from two studies designed for that purpose. First, we ran a survey experiment to examine how exogenously induced responsiveness actions affect reactions to a policy decision. Second, we conducted a case study to see how results hold up in a real-world setting. We find that responsiveness actions are rewarded provided that citizens are convinced that politicians have paid attention to their wishes and views. Responsiveness actions that signal willingness to communicate (“to listen” and “to explain”) are more effective than the action to follow majority opinion (“to adapt”). However, the responsiveness-acceptance connection is sensitive to perceptual bias; policy losers are hard pressed to accept that politicians have indeed acted responsively.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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