Procedures Matter: Strong Voice, Evaluations of Policy Performance, and Regime Support
Many scholars assume that policy performance determines popular support for political systems. Yet in the wake of recent economic crises, patterns of performance and regime support have diverged in many countries, and popular perceptions of performance often fail to reflect the actual quality of governance. To resolve these paradoxes, I draw on recent scholarship on regime support and procedural fairness. I show that strong voice (the ability of citizens to influence political outcomes and a key element of procedural justice in democracies) influences regime support in a way not accounted for in this literature: by moderating the relationship between policy performance and perceptions of performance. These findings show that people will evaluate equivalent outcomes more favorably if they are produced using fair procedures. As performance has long been shown to positively influence support, procedural justice has an additional, indirect influence on people’s attitudes toward political systems.