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DONDENA Seminar Series Spring 2023 - Jan Vogler


"Bureaucracy and Democracy: The Importance of Public Services to Citizens’ Lives and Trust in Government"


How much importance do citizens attribute to public goods and services in their daily lives? Which impact do anticipated changes to the quality of these public goods have on people's trust in government and fundamental beliefs in democracy? Research on bureaucracy suggests that public administrative organizations play a key (macrosocial) role in stabilizing and legitimizing democratic political systems by providing essential public goods and services. In this respect, I use a major, original dataset collected in five OECD countries (the United States, Germany, Spain, Poland, and Sweden) to assess the importance of public goods to citizens’ lives and trust in government. Through a conjoint experiment I show that the quality of public goods and services is as important (or even more important) to many citizens as other key (personal) aspects of their lives. Then, through a survey experiment, I demonstrate that information about anticipated changes in public goods and services makes citizens concerned about the future and increases the importance of public goods to their trust in government. Additionally, there is also some (more limited) evidence of an impact on their fundamental beliefs in democracy.



Jan P. Vogler is an assistant professor of quantitative social science at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz. He previously held the position of a post-doctoral research associate in the political economy of good government at the University of Virginia; and, prior to that, he received a Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. His research covers a wide range of topics, including the organization of public bureaucracies, various forms of political and economic competition (in domestic and international settings), historical legacies, structures and perceptions of the EU, and the determinants of democracy and authoritarianism.


You may follow the seminar online via ZOOM Meetings at the following link: