Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

A comparative perspective on perceived legitimacy: evaluating authorities in democratic and no-democratic contexts

Does the political context (e.g., democracy vs. authoritarianism) influence what makes people perceive authorities as legitimate?

Duration
2011  -   2015
Contact
Honorata Mazepus

When do people voluntarily obey authorities? Political authorities can use different sources of power to rule over others (e.g., coercion, violence, financial incentives?). It is believed that legitimate authorities can rule with less effort, because people comply with the authorities, laws, and rules without the need to use of coercion or material incentives. In other words, people do not need carrots and sticks and accept the authorities because they believe these authorities have the right to rule. However, legitimacy can mean many things and it is not clear what makes people recognize authorities as legitimate. In democracies, elections constitute one of the main sources of legitimacy. Apart from elections, though, other factors have been associated with legitimacy, like fair distribution of goods and services (distributive justice) and fair and legal treatment of citizens (procedural justice). However, there is not much evidence to what extent these factors vary across countries and across different political regimes. My studies test the effect of different factors on perceived legitimacy of authorities in countries with different political regimes. I use survey experiments as the main method of research.

When do people voluntarily obey authorities? Political authorities can use different sources of power to rule over others (e.g., coercion, violence, financial incentives?). It is believed that legitimate authorities can rule with less effort, because people comply with the authorities, laws, and rules without the need to use of coercion or material incentives. In other words, people do not need carrots and sticks and accept the authorities because they believe these authorities have the right to rule. However, legitimacy can mean many things and it is not clear what makes people recognize authorities as legitimate. In democracies, elections constitute one of the main sources of legitimacy. Apart from elections, though, other factors have been associated with legitimacy, like fair distribution of goods and services (distributive justice) and fair and legal treatment of citizens (procedural justice). However, there is not much evidence to what extent these factors vary across countries and across different political regimes. My studies test the effect of different factors on perceived legitimacy of authorities in countries with different political regimes. I use survey experiments as the main method of research.

Connection with other research

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