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Building faith in democracy: deliberative events, political trust and efficacy

Faculty Advisor




political trust, democracy, government, faith

Abstract (summary)

Governments have turned to public deliberation as a way to engage citizens in governance with the goal of rebuilding faith in government institutions and authority as well as to provide quality inputs into governance. This paper offers a systematic analysis of the literature on the effects of deliberative events on participants’ political efficacy and trust. The systematic review contextualizes the results from a six-day deliberative event. This case study is distinctive in highlighting the long-term impacts on participants’ political trust and efficacy as key outcomes of the deliberative process unfold, i.e., City Council receives then responds to the participants’ recommendations report. Using four-wave panel data spanning two and a half years and three public opinion polls (control groups), the study demonstrates that participants in deliberative events are more efficacious and trusting prior to and after the deliberative event. Despite the case study’s evidence and the systematic review of existing literature, questions remain about whether enhanced opportunities for citizen engagement in governance can ameliorate low levels of political trust and efficacy observed in western democracies.

Publication Information

Boulianne, S. (2018). Building faith in democracy: Deliberative events, political trust and efficacy. Political Studies. DOI: 10.1177/0123456789123456


Item Type

Article Post-Print




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