Never trust a politician? Collective distrust, relational accountability, and voter response

May 2014
with F. Durante, in Power, Politics, & Paranoia: Why People are Supicious of their Leaders, eds. Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Paul AM van Lange (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

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We argue that the politician-versus-citizen distrust depends on a failure of relational accountability, citizens’ lacking trust in politicians’ shared intentions. Politicians have a goal to get and maintain power, and voters have a goal to elect politicians who will represent their interests and adopt competent policies. Knowing for sure only that a candidate wants to win power, voters must infer whether the candidate genuinely cares about anything else, and, if so, represents their long-term shared interests. Apparently most politicians consistently fail on this dimension.