Fairness matters when responding to disasters

An experimental study of government legitimacy

Honorata Mazepus*, Florian van Leeuwen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Governments worldwide are regularly faced with severe weather conditions and disasters caused by natural hazards. Does the way in which governments respond to disasters affect their legitimacy? The current study investigated how evaluations of authorities were influenced by four aspects of a governmental response to a hypothetical disaster. In a survey experiment participants read a scenario in which a government distributed aid in the aftermath of a flooding. Data were collected from the Netherlands, France, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia (N = 2,677). Results showed that the government was seen as more legitimate when it was described as distributing resources fairly, following fair procedures, and providing a material benefit to the participant. However, in contrast to predictions derived from system‐justification theory, results showed that outcome dependence was associated with reduced legitimacy. These findings suggest that response policies that address both instrumental and fairness concerns might help maintain positive evaluations of governments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalGovernance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019

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fairness
disaster
legitimacy
Ukraine
evaluation
Poland
Netherlands
Russia
France
scenario
experiment
resources

Keywords

  • BLAME
  • GENERATE
  • INSTITUTIONAL LEGITIMACY
  • NATURAL DISASTER
  • PROCEDURAL JUSTICE
  • SATISFACTION
  • SOCIAL-JUSTICE
  • SYSTEM JUSTIFICATION
  • VOICE

Cite this

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title = "Fairness matters when responding to disasters: An experimental study of government legitimacy",
abstract = "Governments worldwide are regularly faced with severe weather conditions and disasters caused by natural hazards. Does the way in which governments respond to disasters affect their legitimacy? The current study investigated how evaluations of authorities were influenced by four aspects of a governmental response to a hypothetical disaster. In a survey experiment participants read a scenario in which a government distributed aid in the aftermath of a flooding. Data were collected from the Netherlands, France, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia (N = 2,677). Results showed that the government was seen as more legitimate when it was described as distributing resources fairly, following fair procedures, and providing a material benefit to the participant. However, in contrast to predictions derived from system‐justification theory, results showed that outcome dependence was associated with reduced legitimacy. These findings suggest that response policies that address both instrumental and fairness concerns might help maintain positive evaluations of governments.",
keywords = "BLAME, GENERATE, INSTITUTIONAL LEGITIMACY, NATURAL DISASTER, PROCEDURAL JUSTICE, SATISFACTION, SOCIAL-JUSTICE, SYSTEM JUSTIFICATION, VOICE",
author = "Honorata Mazepus and {van Leeuwen}, Florian",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1111/gove.12440",
language = "English",
journal = "Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration",
issn = "1468-0491",
publisher = "Wiley",

}

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T1 - Fairness matters when responding to disasters

T2 - An experimental study of government legitimacy

AU - Mazepus, Honorata

AU - van Leeuwen, Florian

PY - 2019

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N2 - Governments worldwide are regularly faced with severe weather conditions and disasters caused by natural hazards. Does the way in which governments respond to disasters affect their legitimacy? The current study investigated how evaluations of authorities were influenced by four aspects of a governmental response to a hypothetical disaster. In a survey experiment participants read a scenario in which a government distributed aid in the aftermath of a flooding. Data were collected from the Netherlands, France, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia (N = 2,677). Results showed that the government was seen as more legitimate when it was described as distributing resources fairly, following fair procedures, and providing a material benefit to the participant. However, in contrast to predictions derived from system‐justification theory, results showed that outcome dependence was associated with reduced legitimacy. These findings suggest that response policies that address both instrumental and fairness concerns might help maintain positive evaluations of governments.

AB - Governments worldwide are regularly faced with severe weather conditions and disasters caused by natural hazards. Does the way in which governments respond to disasters affect their legitimacy? The current study investigated how evaluations of authorities were influenced by four aspects of a governmental response to a hypothetical disaster. In a survey experiment participants read a scenario in which a government distributed aid in the aftermath of a flooding. Data were collected from the Netherlands, France, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia (N = 2,677). Results showed that the government was seen as more legitimate when it was described as distributing resources fairly, following fair procedures, and providing a material benefit to the participant. However, in contrast to predictions derived from system‐justification theory, results showed that outcome dependence was associated with reduced legitimacy. These findings suggest that response policies that address both instrumental and fairness concerns might help maintain positive evaluations of governments.

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KW - SATISFACTION

KW - SOCIAL-JUSTICE

KW - SYSTEM JUSTIFICATION

KW - VOICE

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