Policies, procedures, and people: Sources of support for government?


Objective. Many have written about the public's low opinion of the federal government; however, the theoretical sources and consequences of political trust have been empirically elusive. Drawing on the procedural justice framework, this study investigates the structure and consequences of people's mistrust of the federal government. Methods. Using data from various years of the National Election Study (NES), this research investigates the relationship between policy, procedural, and personal concerns and support of government. Results. Judgments about policy out-puts, the process by which these policies develop, and the people involved in this process are shown to be sources of governmental trust, and certain aspects of trust are shown to have important behavioral consequences. Conclusions. These findings help to explain the failure of previous research into the causes and consequences of political trust. The various policy and process judgments that the NES Index combines play important independent roles in explaining political trust itself and its relationship with political behaviors and other attitudes.


Political Science

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Social Science Quarterly