Does Participation Make up for the Democratic Deficit?

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
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Administrative regulations are an important tool for modern governments, but there are concerns about their legitimacy because they are often crafted by unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch or shaped by unelected judges instead of the legislature, creating the perception of a democratic deficit. Currently, we know little about how citizens view such processes. To what extent does executive and judicial rulemaking influence citizens’ views of state legitimacy? Some scholars suggest that citizens tend to trust institutions and support policies if procedures are participatory; others argue that citizens care only about the favorability of policy outcomes. We synthesize this literature by positing that both procedures and outcomes matter, but in different ways. We propose to test our hypotheses through an experiment in Brazil to understand how citizens view executive and judicial lawmaking. Putting together state legitimacy, democratic deficit, and citizen participation, our study has broad implications for peace and democracy.