Sabancı University Political Science PhD. student Aylin Aydın will present the study titled “Explaining Public Confidence in the Judiciary: The interaction between structural and behavioral determinants of confidence” that she co-authored with Eser Şekercioğlu, in 68th Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference. (22-25 April, 2010-Chicago)
Public confidence in the courts is a crucial component of judicial legitimacy without which the functioning of the legal system, the rule of law and ability of the courts to manage public and political conflicts would be harmed. We know little about the factors that can explain the variation in public attitudes toward the judiciary in a truly comparative setting. In addition the interaction of systemic, macro level factors and individual level determinants of confidence has been largely overlooked in the literature. Using World Values Survey (2005-2006) data for 53 countries and various other data sources, our aim is to provide a large scale cross-national study and demonstrate whether country level factors affect/moderate the impact individual level factors and in what ways. Using a random-coefficient model we find that the effect of some of the key individual level determinants of confidence in institutions – education, values, social status – is contingent on the characteristics of the polity individuals live and the performance of the judicial system. More specifically, in democracies with high performance judicial systems variables like education and political participation have a positive impact on confidence, whereas in less stable democracies with less well established institutional frameworks higher political awareness leads to increased cynicism about the system. In short, we demonstrate that the effects of individual level factors are modified by country level factors.