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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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Why Personal Experience Isn’t Always Enough

Why Personal Experience Isn’t Always Enough

Chapter:
(p.89) Five Why Personal Experience Isn’t Always Enough
Source:
Good Enough for Government Work
Author(s):

Amy E. Lerman

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226630342.003.0005

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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