Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Good Enough for Government WorkThe Public Reputation Crisis in America (And What We Can Do to Fix It)$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Amy E. Lerman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226630175

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226630342.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

The Public Reputation Crisis

The Public Reputation Crisis

(p.3) One The Public Reputation Crisis
Good Enough for Government Work

Amy E. Lerman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides an overview of the central argument of the book: that American government is in the midst of a reputation crisis. Like reputation crises in the private sector, a public reputation crisis has three defining characteristics. First, large swaths of people come to hold predominantly negative perceptions of government. These beliefs are widespread enough that they become “common knowledge” and exist as shared understandings among citizens. Second, negative perceptions are highly resistant to change. Even in the face of new information about the cost, quality, or effectiveness of government, beliefs about government persist. Third, those who hold particularly negative perceptions begin to “opt out.” That is, when given the opportunity, individuals who believe government is wasteful and inefficient will choose to move from public services to private alternatives, when feasible. And when sufficient numbers of people opt out of public services, the result can be a decline in the objective quality of public provision, with consequences for the public good.

Keywords:   Public opinion, privatization, reputation crisis, motivated reasoning, confirmation bias

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.