From its very beginning, street-level bureaucracy scholarship has been engaged in inequality in decision-making. Street-level research shows how street-level bureaucrats use stereotypes related to citizen-clients’ background characteristics, such as social class and ethnicity, to make decisions. Within street-level bureaucracy literature, there is however little insight into how street-level bureaucrats’ own background characteristics may affect their use of stereotypes in decision-making. The representative bureaucracy literature does focus on this link between officials’ background and decision-making regarding minority groups: it focuses on how officials representing a minority group make decisions that favour minority interests. This chapter contributes to street-level bureaucracy research on stereotyping by paying attention to possible mechanisms that may explain how officials’ background may affect the decision-making regarding citizen-clients from minority groups.
Nadine Raaphorst and Sandra Groeneveld
Stéphane Moyson, Steven van de Walle and Sandra Groeneveld
In Chapter 9 Moyson, Van de Walle and Groeneveld take a critical look at the views public officials have of citizens, in particular their level of trust toward citizens’ ability, integrity and benevolence, when engaging in administrative interactions. Public officials’ trust is essential in interactive governance, because it may stimulate the compliance and trust of citizens toward public administration. In turn, this may increase the effectiveness of public service delivery. Public officials’ trust builds over time when they have interactions with trustworthy citizens. Hence, trust between public officials and citizens is at the same time an essential requirement for interactive governance and an outcome of such interactions. Extensive research thus far has not yet revealed many individual factors of officials’ trust toward citizens or their perceptions of citizens’ trustworthiness. In addition, few studies have been conducted on the institutional and organizational factors of trust and trustworthiness. Moyson et al. discuss this research and subsequently suggest avenues for future studies.