Erika van Elsas, Maurits Meijers and Take Sipma (Political Science) awarded LISS 2021 grant by the ODISSEI consortium
Erika van Elsas, Maurits Meijers and Take Sipma (Political Science) have been awarded a LISS 2021 grant by the ODISSEI consortium to study for the project "‘Common Ground or Battleground?’, Public Perceptions of Bias in Impartial Institutions". The legitimacy of impartial institutions, such as the judicial system, law enforcement, and educational institutions, is pivotal to the proper functioning of democratic society. Yet, in public debate such supposedly impartial, a-political institutions are portrayed as politically biased: ‘the tax service is racist’ and ‘universities practice left-wing indoctrination’. In other words, these institutions are perceived as favoring the interests of specific groups over others. Much political science research has been done on support for representative political institutions, but less is known about how citizens evaluate the partiality of supposedly impartial institutions, and how this affects institutional trust. This project develops new survey items to study the nature, origins, and consequences of perceived bias in impartial institutions. Understanding the extent to which and why citizens perceive supposedly impartial institutions as biased is crucial to identify ways to mitigate public distrust.