The Origins and Development of Political Efficacy

Research question/goal: 

The project examines the concept of political efficacy and what drives or deters its formation. Political efficacy refers to people’s subjective beliefs about their own abilities to take part in politics and whether that participation is worthwhile. While often discussed as a necessary condition for many forms of political participation, political efficacy is far less frequently studied directly as an outcome in and of itself. The central research question in this project asks: What are the factors that shape political efficacy? In addressing this broad question, the project employs both micro- and macro-comparative approaches. The project therefore seeks to understand how political efficacy develops over individuals’ life courses as well as how contextual forces – in this case public policies – can impact political efficacy. The analyses draw on existing survey data (e.g., the European Social Survey and national panel surveys) as well as survey experiments which allow for the manipulation of policy design. Understanding how individuals develop political efficacy and how the environment influences efficacy perceptions – and whether contextual factors are more relevant for certain groups than for others – furthers our understanding of one important foundation of political inequality.

Fact sheet

2020 to 2022
Data Sources: 
Survey data (cross-sectional, panel, and factorial)
Geographic Space: