A Matter of Life or Death: A Survey Experiment on the Perceived Legitimacy of Political Decision-Making on Euthanasia

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Henrik Serup Christensen, Staffan Himmelroos, Maija Setälä
Publication year: 2019
Journal: Parliamentary Affairs


Most representative democracies seem to experience dwindling levels of
legitimacy in the eyes of citizens. Nevertheless, it remains unclear
what people want from parliamentary decision-making. In this study, we
test the impact of outcome favourability, actor involvement and
justifications on the perceived legitimacy of a parliamentary
decision-making process on euthanasia in Finland. We do so with the help
of a survey experiment (n = 1243), where respondents were exposed to a
vignette where the treatments varied randomly. The results suggest that
outcome favourability is of primary importance, but the involvement of
experts and citizens also boost legitimacy in the eyes of citizens.
Justifications, or presenting arguments for the decisions, does not
enhance legitimacy and may even cause a backfire mechanism where the
difference between getting and not getting the preferred outcome is

Last updated on 2020-24-09 at 06:33

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