Jennifer Shore, Jale Tosun
Personally affected, politically disaffected? How experiences with public employment services impact young people's political efficacy

Social Policy & Administration, 2019: 53, issue 7, pp. 958-973
ISSN: 0144-5596 (print); 1467-9515 (online)

Unemployment experiences can have consequences for how people think about democracy and where they stand vis‐à‐vis the state. We investigate how young people's experiences with public employment services can shape levels of external political efficacy—the feeling that decision‐makers are responsive to citizen needs. The personal and direct experiences one gathers at this pivotal time in life can also leave their mark on political attitudes. We analyze an original dataset on German youth to test how encounters with such agencies affect young people's political efficacy, finding that perceptions of helpfulness and being treated fairly and with respect increase the likelihood of being politically efficacious. The findings highlight the importance of personal experiences and bureaucratic interactions for vulnerable young people's democratic attitudes.