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Good Enough for Government WorkThe Public Reputation Crisis in America (And What We Can Do to Fix It)$
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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

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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

Why Personal Experience Isn’t Always Enough

Why Personal Experience Isn’t Always Enough

(p.89) Five Why Personal Experience Isn’t Always Enough
Good Enough for Government Work

Amy E. Lerman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows that the process of reputation motivated reasoning described in the previous chapter can actually result in increased support for privatizing high-quality public services. Specifically, evidence from a set of natural experiments shows that personal experience with public service provision affects whether people support privatizing that service. However, these effects are in a counterintuitive direction: someone receiving a public service that he perceives to be of very high quality mistakenly believes he is receiving a high-quality private service. As a result, he becomes more supportive of having that service turned over to a private firm.

Keywords:   Motivated reasoning, confirmation bias, reputation crisis, public opinion, policy feedback

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