Can the use of minipublics backfire? Examining how policy adoption shapes the effect of minipublics on political support among the general public

Paper by Lisa van Dijk and Jonas Lefevere: “Academics and practitioners are increasingly interested in deliberative minipublics and whether these can address widespread dissatisfaction with contemporary politics. While optimism seems to prevail, there is also talk that the use of minipublics may backfire. When the government disregards a minipublic’s recommendations, this could lead to more dissatisfaction than not asking for its advice in the first place. Using an online survey experiment in Belgium (n = 3,102), we find that, compared to a representative decision-making process, a minipublic tends to bring about higher political support when its recommendations are fully adopted by the government, whereas it generates lower political support when its recommendations are not adopted. This study presents novel insights into whether and when the use of minipublics may alleviate or aggravate political dissatisfaction among the public at large….(More)”