Why do citizens (not) support democratic innovations? The role of instrumental motivations in support for participatory budgeting
In recent years, the question why citizens (do not) support democratic innovations has attracted increasing academic attention. In this research note, Van Der Does & Kantorowicz for the first time empirically verify what drives citizens’ instrumental considerations in their evaluation of a DI.
- Ramon van der Does & Jaroslaw Kantorowicz
- 09 June 2021
- Why do citizens (not) support democratic innovations? The role of instrumental motivations in support for participatory budgeting
Why do citizens (not) support democratic innovations? Existing research shows that citizens mostly support such new ways of involving citizens in policy-making for instrumental reasons: the more a democratic innovation leads to outcomes they favour, the more likely they are to express support for it. However, it remains ambiguous why citizens care so much about favourable outcomes. This study disentangles the effect of outcome favourability on support for democratic innovations by testing two mechanisms: self-interest and sociotropy. It relies on three survey experiments on Dutch citizens’ support for a local democratic innovation (participatory budgeting) (N = 2,491). The results confirm that outcome favourability is important in explaining citizens’ support for participatory budgets (Study 1). Van Der Does & Kantorowicz find evidence for both self-interest (Study 2) and sociotropy (Study 3) as drivers of the effect and present preliminary evidence that self-interest may trump sociotropy in citizens’ evaluations of democratic innovations.