Descriptive and Symbolic: The Connection Between Political Representation and Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Public Services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While theories of local democracy mark political representation as highly important in determining the quality and perception of public services, little has been done to explore the empirical connection. This represents a lacuna in our understanding of how representation affects citizen wellbeing and how citizens determine their satisfaction with public services. We focus on descriptive and symbolic dimensions of representation to elucidate how representation influences citizens’, and minority citizens’ in particular, experience with public services. Utilizing a survey of residents of Haifa, Israel, our findings imply that beyond the descriptive makeup of municipal elected bodies, symbolic dimensions of representation might be even more important for understanding citizen satisfaction. Symbolic representation may impact satisfaction directly and through its contribution to other feelings about government. These findings expand understandings of the importance of diversity in political representation, determinants of satisfaction and how dynamics of good governance contribute to citizens’ experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • citizen satisfaction
  • citizen survey
  • political representation
  • public services

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Descriptive and Symbolic: The Connection Between Political Representation and Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Public Services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this