Why Participate? A Policy Feedback Approach To Political Participation In Zambia
In democratic regime, why do different people choose to participate in politics in different ways? After taking into account the explanatory power of various demographic characteristics, scholars of American politics have presented convincing evidence that people's experiences with public policy influence the way that they participate in politics. These works have demonstrated that public policy can "feed back" through either material or interpretive pathways to condition citizens' relationships to their government, influencing mass patterns of participation. However, this body of work has two limitations: first, in order to achieve causal inference, many works of policy feedback focus on the effects of only one or a few policies. While such a focus allows more precise causal analysis, it does not reflect the broad and varied experiences people actually have with public policy. Second, most policy feedback scholarship takes places in the context of advanced industrial democracies with high capacity for policy implementation. Assuming that policies have the capability to "feed back" in any democratic context, it is essential to understand how policy feedback loops may operate differently in the low-capacity context that characterizes most contemporary democracies. In order to address these limitations, this study examines how policy has influenced various forms of political participation in the developing democracy of Zambia. Situating the study in Zambia allows explicit examination of policy feedback outside the context of highcapacity democracies. To address the issue of narrow policy focus, this dissertation advances a novel survey instrument to measure respondents' broad experiences across policies they themselves deemed salient. To make respondents' reports comparable, this study proposes a typology of policy experiences, making it possible to compare respondents' described experiences across an array of possible policies. This strategy was implemented in an original 1,500 person survey across three provinces in Zambia. Because this broad approach to policy experience sacrifices causal inference, the dissertation also entails archival research and process tracing to establish the reasonable expectation that individuals' experiences with public policy are at least partially independent of their existing patterns of political participation.
African politics, policy feedback,; political behavior, developing democracy
van de Walle,Nicolas
Pepinsky,Thomas; Katzenstein,Mary Fainsod
Ph.D. of Government
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis