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Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

Extant literature on citizen evaluation of government and confidence in public institutions is anchored on findings largely derived from the rich and enduring democratic traditions of Western industrialized democracies. This research explores whether this literature informs and can be generalized to similar phenomena in a developmental Islamic democracy, such as that in Afghanistan. Analyzing national probability survey data of adult Afghans, we find that prevailing theories of citizen evaluation of government and confidence in public institutions do offer viable explanations, although the effect of each factor varies according to both level of government and institution. Also, the effects of perceptions of performance are very salient. Overall, the theories provide more potent explanations of citizen evaluation of government and confidence in public institutions vis-a-vis demographic factors. We contend that the prospects for democracy in Afghanistan may well depend on democracy’s ability to deliver both on its stated ideals and expected dividends.

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