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Old Measures, New Implications: The Meaning of Political Efficacy across Political Contexts

Xena, Carla (2015) Old Measures, New Implications: The Meaning of Political Efficacy across Political Contexts. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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The main goal of this thesis is to comprehend some of the factors explaining cross- temporal and cross-national variations in citizens’ feelings of influence upon the political process, namely, political efficacy. For that purpose, this work is structured in three main parts which aim to explain how contextual factors can affect feelings of efficacy and, the sources of cross-national commonalities and differences. The first part, `Electoral Outcomes, Expectations and the (de)Mobilisation of Political Efficacy' contributes to the winner-loser gap literature by assessing the effect of elections, electoral outcomes and electoral expectations on political efficacy in the United Kingdom (UK) 2005 and 2010 general elections. This papers shows that not only electoral outcomes enhance or depress feelings of efficacy but also that electoral expectations have a major impact. The second part of this dissertation, `Does the Concept of Political Efficacy Travel across National Borders?', studies the cross-national comparability of a standard measure of political efficacy used in the European Social Survey (ESS). This paper employs Multigroup Confirmatory Factor Analysis (MGCFA) and shows that the meaning of political efficacy is not equivalent across the European continent but rather, among subsets of countries with a shared background. The third paper of this dissertation, `Valid Measures of Political Efficacy and their Correlates in the US and UK', uses the most recent advances in MGCFA applied to ordinal data to assess the cross-temporal and cross-national validity of a pilot battery of questions of political efficacy in the US and UK. The empirical results show that efficacy is equivalent across both countries only when significant differences in average levels of political efficacy are accounted for.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Behaviour, Political Attitudes, Political Efficacy, Measurement Invariance, Multigroup Confirmatory Factor Analysis (MGCFA), Survey Research
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Carla Xena Galindo
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2015 11:47
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2020 02:00

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