Rebuilding institutional legitimacy is essential for stability in postconflict societies. But what factors influence citizen perceptions of legitimacy? Kylie Fisk and Adrian Cherney answer the question using data from a nationwide study of post-conflict governance in Nepal. They find that the relationship between service delivery and legitimacy “is not as simple as previously assumed.” Procedural justice is more strongly associated with perceptions of legitimacy than instrumental outcomes such as service delivery, distributive justice, and outcome favorability. Read the article.
Senior government executives often depend on groups of advisors to help them overcome the challenges of decisionmaking. But this raises the risk of “groupthink.” In a study of executives in the US federal government, Steven Kelman, Ronald Sanders, and Gayatri Pandit find that the dominant technique for avoiding technique is vigilant decisionmaking, which involves active solicitation of dissenting views and close scrutiny of alternatives. But successful executives are also found to have a bias for action. “What distinguishes outstanding executives,” the authors find, “is not vigiliance but decisiveness.” Read the article.
Elite politicians live in an “information maelstrom,” Stefaan Walgrave and Yves Dejaeghere observe in a new article for Governance. How do they decide select the information they pay attention to? Walgrave and Dejaeghere draw on interviews with top Belgian politicians, including all party leaders. They describe three general strategies that are used by politicians to manage overload: organizational procedures designed to shield them against raw information; personal heuristics to sort out what really matters; and an attitude of self-confidence that “at least makes them feel in charge of the incoming signals.” Read the article.