Process preferences and American politics: What the people want government to be

John R. Hibbing, Elizabeth Theiss-Morse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


We present evidence of the kind of governmental processes Americans would like to see in Washington. People believe they have been excluded from current processes, but they do not want direct democracy. The extent to which individuals believe actual processes are inconsistent with their own process preferences is an important variable in understanding the current public mood. Moreover, individual-level differences in level of dissatisfaction with democratic processes help explain variations in public approval of government and in willingness to comply with the outputs of government. Of course, many political attitudes and behaviors are influenced by fondness for the policies that government produces, but it is also the case that sentiments and actions are affected by the way government produces those policies. Far from being merely a means to a policy end, governmental process is important in its own right.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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