Citizen Engagement and Trust: A Study among Citizen Panel Members in Three Dutch Municipalities

Vinitha Siebers*, Raymond Gradus, René Grotens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Citizen engagement is a key component of democracy, especially in local governments. It is seen as a way to generate input and support, and to find creative solutions to problems and challenges governments face. Currently, Western democracies are witnessing a challenge in which citizens have less trust in their government. This explorative study examines if citizen engagement is a valuable strategy based on citizen panels of three Dutch municipalities. Four different direct forms of citizen engagement are studied: (1) attending a council meeting, (2) an information meeting, (3) conversation with an official, and (4) other forms of citizen engagement (e.g. social media or letter). The regression results indicate that the different forms of direct citizen engagement seem not to contribute to the amount of trust citizen panel members have in their own municipality. Attending a council meeting, a conversation with an official and other forms of engagement seem to have no or a negative effect on trust. In addition, the number of times that citizens engage seems not to or even negatively contributes to the amount of trust that they have in their municipality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science Journal
Volume56
Issue number4
Early online date23 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Citizen engagement
  • Citizen panel
  • Dutch municipalities
  • Trust

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