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Bring in the experts? Citizen preferences for independent experts in political decision‐making processes


Bertsou, Eri (2022). Bring in the experts? Citizen preferences for independent experts in political decision‐making processes. European Journal of Political Research, 61(1):255-267.

Abstract

Do citizens welcome the involvement of independent experts in politics? Theoretical and empirical work so far provides conflicting answers to this question. On the one hand, citizens may demand expert involvement in political decision-making processes in order to ensure efficient and effective governance solutions. On the other hand, citizens can be distrustful of experts and reject the unaccountable and non-transparent nature of expert-based governance. This note investigates citizen preferences for the involvement of experts in different stages of political processes and across ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ political issues. Results show that, in the absence of explicit output information, respondents prefer independent experts over national elected representatives in the policy design and implementation stages, across political issues. For the crucial stage of decision making, respondents show no difference in their evaluation of processes that delegate decisions to experts or to elected representatives, with the exception of environmental policy, where expert decision making is preferred. These findings are relevant for ongoing discussions on how to incorporate independent experts in political decision making in a way that citizens find legitimate and on how to address increased citizen dissatisfaction with the representative democratic functions performed by political parties, governments and politicians.

Abstract

Do citizens welcome the involvement of independent experts in politics? Theoretical and empirical work so far provides conflicting answers to this question. On the one hand, citizens may demand expert involvement in political decision-making processes in order to ensure efficient and effective governance solutions. On the other hand, citizens can be distrustful of experts and reject the unaccountable and non-transparent nature of expert-based governance. This note investigates citizen preferences for the involvement of experts in different stages of political processes and across ‘hard’ and ‘easy’ political issues. Results show that, in the absence of explicit output information, respondents prefer independent experts over national elected representatives in the policy design and implementation stages, across political issues. For the crucial stage of decision making, respondents show no difference in their evaluation of processes that delegate decisions to experts or to elected representatives, with the exception of environmental policy, where expert decision making is preferred. These findings are relevant for ongoing discussions on how to incorporate independent experts in political decision making in a way that citizens find legitimate and on how to address increased citizen dissatisfaction with the representative democratic functions performed by political parties, governments and politicians.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:sociology and political science experts, process preferences, technocratic governance, technocracy, policy preferences
Language:English
Date:1 February 2022
Deposited On:02 Dec 2021 16:05
Last Modified:26 Apr 2024 01:37
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0304-4130
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12448
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)