Address: Doelensteeg 16, 2311 VL Leiden, Netherlands
Education and academic positions:
2011 – PhD Candidate in Political Science, Leiden University
2014 – Associate Researcher, Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (led by Ronald Inglehart and Eduard Ponarin), Higher School of Economics (Moscow)
Academic interests: political legitimacy, distributive and procedural justice, regime types, comparative politics, Russian politics, political attitudes and beliefs.
“Perceived legitimacy of national authorities in comparative perspective: Evaluating political authorities in different political contexts” (ongoing)
The core problem that theories of legitimacy try to explain is “What makes power-meaning ‘might’-morally right?”—a question posed by Thucydides (Zelditch, Jr 2001, p.34). Legitimacy is one of contested concepts with strong presence in philosophy, political science, sociology, political psychology, and law. This research project is concerned with perceived political legitimacy in particular. The main goal of this research is to experimentally test causal links between justice of authorities and perceived legitimacy in different political contexts.
Most theories of legitimacy predict that to be perceived as legitimate—having the right to rule in the eyes of citizens—authorities need to be seen as fair, proper, and right. According to Tyler (1997, p.325), in opposition to rational-choice (resource-based) models, ‘legitimacy theory’ predicts that people ‘seek evidence of integrity and caring when judging authorities’. Series of experiments (lab and real-life) provided, arguably, the strongest evidence of existence of legitimacy and showed that when people consider authorities as just, proper, and morally acceptable they are more willing to offer decision-making discretion to them (perceived legitimacy) and to obey their decisions (Van der Toorn et al. 2011). The number of these experimental studies, however, is limited and almost completely concentrated in the USA, with several recent studies conducted in Europe (van der Toorn et al 2010; Jackson et al. 2012) and in South Africa (Gibson and Caldeira 2003). Cross-cultural experimental studies of motivations that people have when granting legitimacy to authorities are scarce. This project intends to partially fill this research gap with the use of a vignette (survey) experiment. The experiment will try to uncover differences in causal links between justice (distributive and procedural) and perceived legitimacy. It will be conducted with respondents socialized in the Netherlands (old democracy), Poland (post-communist new democracy) and Russia (post-communist hybrid regime). This study aims to provide insights about the weights people assign to different factors when evaluating legitimacy of political authorities in democratic and non-democratic political setting.
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