Making a Difference: Political Efficacy and Policy Preferences Polarization
40 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2010
Date Written: December 3, 2010
When do enduring value sets, such as political ideologies or party identification, shape policy preferences, and when do policy preferences exhibit independence from entrenched ideologies? We present a model of individual-level politicization of policy preference, which draws on psychological and political explanations, and posits that greater external political efficacy results in a stronger effect of political ideology on concrete policy preference. We report the findings of two empirical studies that test this hypothesis: A correlational analysis that relies on the 2002 wave of the European Social Survey, and an original survey experiment conducted in Israel. The empirical findings support our hypothesis. In contrast to the established conviction that no association exists between political efficacy and policy preferences (Campbell et al. 1954), our findings reveal that external political efficacy has an indirect effect on expressed policy preferences.
Keywords: Ideology, political efficacy, polarization, politicization, policy preference
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