Knowing and distrusting: how political trust and knowledge shape direct-democratic participation

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Henrik Serup Christensen
Publication year: 2018
Journal: European Societies
Volume number: 20
Issue number: 4
Start page: 572
End page: 594


Abstract

This article examines how factual political knowledge and political
trust shape direct-democratic involvement in the form of supporting
citizens’ initiatives in Finland. Previous studies have debated the
relative merits of cognitive mobilization and political dissatisfaction
as predictors of support for direct democracy. This study builds on
these efforts, but it extends the scope of analysis to examine reported
participation in rather than support for direct democracy. The study
relies on data from the most recent round of the Finnish National
Election Study from 2015 (FNES2015) to study these questions with binary
logistic regression analyses. The results suggest that both factual
political knowledge and political trust have the expected relationships
with direct-democratic involvement. However, their effects are stronger
when they interact and pull in the same direction to shape the
propensity of involvement. This indicates that proposals for citizens’
initiatives are generally the work of knowledgeable, but critical,
citizens.


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