Perceptions of people, process, and *policy on political trust
The qualities of the people serving in government, the processes used, and the policies that result have been put forth in the literature as possible determinants of political trust (Miller and Borrelli 1991; Ulbig 2002; Erber and Lau 1990; Rahn and Rudolph 2005). Political evaluations of people, process, and policy can be seen as determinants of political trust. While previous scholarship hypothesizes them as such, there is no empirical work which investigates these three variables together. This project combines people, process, and policy into one study to examine their influence upon trust in relation to one another. Evaluations of people, process, and policy are found, through analysis of originally collected data, to influence both trust in government and trust in specific politicians. A representative national sample survey combined with the power of a randomized experiment was employed to study the effect of perceptions of people, process, and policy on trust. Survey questions asked participants to consider people, process, and policy on a global level, while the experimental design tested specific attributes of people, process, and policy. Findings from both the survey and the experiment indicate that, of these three, perceptions of policy had the greatest impact on trust. Perceptions of people followed closely behind policy, and the effect of process was the weakest. This convergence between survey and experimental findings lends confidence to the overall ability of evaluations of people and policy to explain trust in government.