Unpacking the effects of burdensome state actions on citizens' policy perceptions

Sievert, Martin ; Bruder, Jonas

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2023
Conference title: Public Management Research Conference 2023 (PMRC 2023)
Location of the conference venue: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Date of the conference: 27.-30.06.2023
Related URLs:
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL, Public & Non Profit Management (Helmig 2008-)
Subject: 350 Public administration
Abstract: Administrative burdens appear to influence citizens’ perceptions of welfare policies and attitudes toward beneficiaries. However, empirical evidence that has disentangled different state actions’ effects on policy perceptions is scarce. We applied a 2x2x2 factorial survey experiment and manipulated the conceptually distinct state actions implemented in German unemployment benefits. We investigated whether and how exposure to learning demands, compliance demands, and sanctions affected citizens’ prejudices against beneficiaries, policy support, and perceived legitimacy. The results from a sample of 1,602 German citizens indicate that those confronted with program sanctions exhibit less policy support and expect higher policy spending. Similarly, sanctions decreased the Federal Employment Agency’s perceived legitimacy. These results have implications for administrative burden and policy feedback research. Distinguishing different state actions provides nuances to assess policy feedback effects. Practitioners should consider whether program sanctions are necessary because they evoke unintended policy feedback effects.

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