Document Type

Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs


Political Science and Sociology


College of Humanities and Fine Arts


What explains citizens’ perceptions of government policy success? To answer this question, we use multilevel modelling strategies to examine data gathered across 21 national samples from the 2006 International Social Survey Programme’s (ISSP) Role of Government IV module. Our dependent variable is an index of perceived governmental policy success in six areas. Our analysis reveals that citizens’ evaluations of the success of public policies vary within countries as well as between countries. Our multilevel models indicate that variation in perceptions within countries is largely a function of individual sociodemographic attributes and political attitudes. In contrast, across country variation in perceptions is mainly a function of the quality of public institutions within a country and, to a lesser extent, prevailing economic conditions. These results suggest that citizens’ perceptions of government are not merely influenced by objective outcomes of public policy, they are also influenced by the degree of procedural fairness, professionalism, and integrity within public institutions.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.