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How might reform of the political system appeal to discontented citizens?

Seyd, Ben and Curtice, John and Rose, Jonathan (2018) How might reform of the political system appeal to discontented citizens? British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 20 (2). pp. 263-284. ISSN 1369-1481

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    Abstract

    In Britain, levels of political trust have declined, stimulating policy makers to explore ways of appealing to discontented citizens. One such initiative involves reform of the political system. Yet, this raises the question of which types of political reform are likely to appeal to discontented citizens. Existing studies have examined how individuals respond to political reforms, yet these studies only consider a limited range of institutional changes. Scholars and policy makers thus know little about the popular appeal of a wider set of institutional reforms. Taking advantage of proposals for political reform in Britain, this article considers public reactions to a wide range of institutional changes. Using data from the 2011 British Social Attitudes survey, we find that direct democratic reforms are not the only changes that appeal to discontented citizens. Instead, policy makers may also appeal to the distrustful via reforms that allow voters more control over their political representatives.