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First-Hand Experience and Second-Hand Information: Changing Trust across Three Levels of Government

Reinhardt, Gina Yannitell (2015) 'First-Hand Experience and Second-Hand Information: Changing Trust across Three Levels of Government.' Review of Policy Research, 32 (3). pp. 345-364. ISSN 1541-132X

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Little is known about how different sources of information drive citizen trust in government. To address that gap this article compares disaster evacuees to observers, noting how trust differs as attention to media coverage increases. First-hand experience supplies information to update trust through biological and personal processes and performance assessments, while secondary sources provide information about other people's experiences, filtered through lenses that take an active role in crafting information. These two types of information have varying effects depending on the level of government being trusted. Using surveys administered a year after Hurricane Katrina, I find that Katrina evacuees have the highest trust in federal government, until they start paying attention to media coverage, and that attention to coverage has the most dramatic effect on these evacuees compared to all other groups. I also find that increasing attention to second-hand information corresponds with higher trust in local officials, and that this effect decreases as the level of government increases. It appears media coverage creates a comparison in the mind of hurricane evacuees, causing them to update their performance assessments based on comparing their own experience to that which they observe, thereby updating their political trust.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: political trust; government performance; media; disasters; federalism; Katrina; hurricane; information; levels of government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2016 14:37
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:55

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