Do Deliberative and Participatory Processes Matter? Crafting trust in political institutions
Title: Do Deliberative and Participatory Processes Matter? Crafting trust in political institutions
Author: NIELSEN HASSING, Julie
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2012
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
Why do people trust certain political institutions and not others, and how best to account for trust’s relationship with democratic participation? This dissertation focuses on the relationship between democratic participation and deliberation, and its influence on political trust. It is based on a puzzle, showing almost as high a level of trust in the European Union (EU) vis-à-vis the national democracy.1 This finding is counterintuitive. Most recent research on the EU emphasizes a converse relationship. A popular interpretation of “the EU democratic malaise” is that the EU is neither transparent nor understood by its people. Hence people cannot trust it, and they reject or show reluctance towards further integration, for example, in popular referendums or by the very low voter turnout in the European Parliament elections. My initial descriptive findings show a different pattern. People actually trust the EU to quite a high degree in comparison to the trust they place in the national democracy.2 So I ask the question: to what degree does enhanced deliberation and participation lead to increased political trust? Thus, the dissertation tests the relationship between political trust and different kinds of participation. The first part of the dissertation (chapters 1 and 2) places the puzzle in a theoretical context, and provides the framework of the study. Chapter 3 describes Denmark as the study’s case. The second part (chapters 4 and 5) explores the research questions empirically through OLS regression analysis and laboratory experiments. The study has two main conclusions: The relationship between trust and deliberation and participation is curvilinear. If provided with too much or too little deliberative participation, people have less political trust. Differences exist between what constitutes trust at the EU level and the national level as well as between different cultures and different political systems.
Defence date: 17 October 2012; Examining Board: Professor Sven Holger Steinmo, European University Institute (Supervisor); Professor Pepper Culpepper, European University Institute; Professor Bo Rothstein, University of Gothenburg; Professor Marlene Wind, University of Copenhagen.
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.