Government for the People or People For Themselves: Citizens Changing Perceptions of the Role of Government in Providing Social Services. Christina Standerfer University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Background Material.
University of Arkansas
Clinton School of Public Service
Citizen-driven approach to public service starts with understanding citizens’ perceptions of the government’s role in addressing any public issue.
Using data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) Role of Government surveys, we compare how citizens’ perceptions of the role of government in providing basic services such as housing, social security to senior citizens, and educational aid to low-income families changed from 1996 to 2006.
Chose five countries: Czech Republic, Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, and U.S.
Continuous programme of cross-national collaboration running periodic surveys on topics important for the social sciences
Started in 1984 with four founding members - Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States
Has grown to 48 member countries from all over the world in 2011
Do the data suggest citizens’ perceptions of government’s responsibilities to provide social services changed from 1996 to 2006?
Do the data suggest any significant changes in citizens’ perceptions between 1996 and 2006 of which social services government should be responsible for?
Did significant differences in citizens’ perception of the role of government in providing social services exist among the countries identified during each time period surveys were administered?
The data suggests that generally citizens in the five countries studied perceived their governments as having less responsibility in providing such services in 1996 than in 2006 (with the exception of the U.S.).
In general Russian citizens consistently perceived government as having more responsibility in providing social services than citizens in the Czech Republic, Sweden, Great Britain, and the U.S.
Although data from the U.S. suggest citizens’ perception of the responsibility of government to provide social services increased from 1996 to 2006, U.S. citizens still generally perceived their government has having less responsibility than did citizens in the other four countries.