Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes
Edited by Staffan Kumlin and Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen
Chapter 14: Informed performance evaluation of the welfare state? Experimental and real-world findings
Performance evaluations concern how social protection and public services ìwork in practiceî as opposed to whether they are, in principle, normatively worthy of support. Previous chapters have concluded that such evaluations constitute one avenue for policy feedback in the welfare state area. By example, Hedegaard and Larsen (Chapter 13) found that public service dissatisfaction increases support for service-specific public spending. Likewise, Kumlin (Chapter 9) argued that performance dissatisfaction damages generalized political trust, rather than specific support for incumbent parties and governments But can citizens assess welfare state performance in a reasonable and informed way? Do they perceive welfare state realities correctly? Do their current assessments correspond to those they would have made with more and better information? These are important questions as representative democracy requires that voters can retrospectively hold rulers to account. Under this vision, citizens encounter and consider an open and balanced information flow about performance. On Election Day, at the latest, those dissatisfied show their frustration and vote the rascals out. Democratic theorists have found this process attractive for at least two reasons.
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