Jennifer Shore
How social policy impacts inequalities in political efficacy

Sociology Compass, 2020: 14, Heft 5, (article no. e12784) e-only
ISSN: 1751-9020 (online)

Political efficacy—the feeling that one is able to effectively participate in politics and also that her input is worthwhile—is an important precursor to numerous political activities, most prominently voting. Beyond individual resources, there is growing evidence that social policies also matter for inequalities in political efficacy. This review centers on the concept of political efficacy and its dimensions to highlight the ways in which social policies can promote or hamper people's subjective beliefs about their role vis‐à‐vis the state. I review studies examining the ways in which social policies can shape political efficacy, focusing on social policy design and administration. Particular attention is given to the policy feedback literature, which posits that policies can influence political efficacy through the channels of resource and interpretive effects. The review concludes by discussing the limitations and challenges of the topic and also outlines areas for the further study of political efficacy and social policy.