Luxury or Necessity? A Three Wave Panel Study on Welfare State Outcomes, Procedural Fairness, and Political Distrust
30 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 28, 2018
The various crises that EU countries faced in the last decade resulted in large scale welfare state retrenchment. Seeing that citizens interact with welfare state institutions on a daily basis, these changes likely affect citizens’ satisfaction with the welfare state. A small but growing body of literature shows that evaluation of these welfare state institutions influence trust in the political system more generally. From a self-interest perspective, welfare state retrenchment would result in a decline in political trust. This article studies whether political trust can be generated in times of research scarcity: by ensuring procedural fairness. Studies on procedural fairness have almost exclusively focused on the input side democracy. This article tests whether and how procedural fairness at the output side of democracy affects trust in the political system. Using unique panel data on citizens’ real experiences with welfare state institutions, we employ the Random Effects Within Between multilevel framework to provide causal evidence that greater procedural fairness at citizens’ interactions with welfare state officials generates higher levels of political trust. More specifically, procedural fairness particularly matters for those who are unsatisfied with the welfare state services overall. These findings have important implications for research on democratic legitimacy, as well as for the design of welfare state services.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation