Local accountability : the role of attribution, institutions, and communication
Author(s)De Benedictis-Kessner, Justin
Role of attribution, institutions, and communication
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
Adam J. Berinsky.
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How do people hold local governments accountable? My dissertation shows how cognitive and perceptual biases, as well as electoral institutions and strategic communication, can hinder voters' ability to hold government accountable. I gather data on local politics -- a level of government that people interact with on a daily basis, and one that encompasses the vast majority of elected officials and elections in the United States. My evidence comes from large-scale elections and communications data, surveys, and partnerships with governments and service providers. My findings indicate that widespread confusion around government responsibilities and a cognitive bias favoring recent information shape how voters evaluate government for performance, that election timing can prevent voters from effectively holding their incumbent politicians accountable, and that strategic communication by municipal governments can further bias the balance of information that citizens rely on to judge government. Together, these papers demonstrate how three facets of politics can frustrate accountability in cities. This work contributes to theoretical knowledge on political behavior and political institutions, as well as the urban politics literature, and does so using three independent sources of data that provide fertile ground for future extensions of this work.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages A61-A75).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology