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Representative Bureaucracy, Immigrants, And Trust In Government: A Cross-National Study


  • Jesse Campbell


Building a civil service that reflects the diversity of the population it serves can increase bureaucratic legitimacy and the fairness of public service provision. In this study, I draw on symbolic representation theory and argue that the impact of representative bureaucracy on trust in government can vary by citizen immigration status. Combining microlevel demographic and opinion data from respondents in 43 countries and country-level estimates of the representativeness of government personnel, I implement a series of multi-level models to test the theory. The analysis suggests that the representativeness of government bureaucracy does not affect trust in the average case but is a significant factor for first generation immigrants. This study provides new evidence for the trust-enhancing effect of representative bureaucracy among minority stakeholders. I discuss how a cross-national approach can further enrich the theoretical landscape of the representative bureaucracy construct.

Suggested Citation

  • Jesse Campbell, 2021. "Representative Bureaucracy, Immigrants, And Trust In Government: A Cross-National Study," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 6, pages 7-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:nos:vgmu00:2021:i:6:p:7-23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Trust, Inequality and Ethnic Heterogeneity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 268-280, September.
    2. Jesse W. Campbell & Tobin Im, 2015. "Identification and Trust in Public Organizations: A communicative approach," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(8), pages 1065-1084, September.
    3. Robert H. Wade, 2018. "The Developmental State: Dead or Alive?," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 49(2), pages 518-546, March.
    4. Wade, Robert H., 2018. "The developmental state: dead or alive?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87356, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Danielle N. Atkins & Angela R. Fertig & Vicky M. Wilkins, 2014. "Connectedness and Expectations: How minority teachers can improve educational outcomes for minority students," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 503-526, May.
    6. Sounman Hong, 2016. "Representative Bureaucracy, Organizational Integrity, and Citizen Coproduction: Does an Increase in Police Ethnic Representativeness Reduce Crime?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(1), pages 11-33, January.
    7. World Bank, 2016. "World Development Indicators 2016," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 23969, December.
    8. M. Shamsul Haque & Mark Turner & Tobin Im & Jesse W. Campbell & Seyeong Cha, 2013. "Revisiting Confucian Bureaucracy: Roots Of The Korean Government'S Culture And Competitiveness," Public Administration & Development, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(4), pages 286-296, October.
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