Department of Political Science

Dressing down the front line: How political discussion of teachers affects their political and institutional trust

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

  • Emily Cochran Bech
We know that government performance and the tone of political debate can affect citizens’ trust in state institutions and political leaders, which have long been known to underpin democratic sustainability. But how does political debate about public employees affect their confidence in political institutions and decision-makers, and their expectation of having influence on the system they work in? This paper uses a survey experiment among Danish schoolteachers to examine how political leaders’ public praise or criticism of teachers as a group affects their confidence in political leaders and in key public institutions, and their sense of political and professional efficacy. It finds that seeing a report of political criticism of teachers significantly reduces that group’s trust in politicians and in state institutions, as well as their expectations of efficacy. Seeing only positive political messages about teachers, however, has virtually no effect on these attitudes. These findings suggest that 'bureaucracy bashing' can meaningfully erode public employees' confidence in the leaders and institutions they serve.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year1 Jun 2018
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
EventPublic Management Research Conference - Lee Kan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore
Duration: 31 May 20182 Jun 2018


ConferencePublic Management Research Conference
LocationLee Kan Yew School of Public Policy

    Research areas

  • political leadership, bureaucracy bashing, frontline public employees, political trust, institutional trust, efficacy

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ID: 128060601