Public participation, procedural Fairness, and evaluations of local governance: The moderating role of uncertainty

Mitchel N. Herian, Joseph A. Hamm, Alan J. Tomkins, Lisa Marie Pytlik Zillig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to test whether the use of public participation by a local government increases perceptions of procedural fairness among the public and to propose an explanation for why fairness is a strong predictor of satisfaction with governmental decisions. To do this, we draw on the uncertainty management model to hypothesize that indications of procedural fairness can increase public support for government and its decisions and that fairness effects are greater for individuals who are more uncertain (less knowledgeable) about the governmental body in question. To test the hypothesis, we embedded an experiment in a survey of the public that was used by a local government to inform its budgetary decisions. The results provide support for the notion that governmental use of public input does increase perceptions of governmental fairness and that, in turn, perceptions of fairness have stronger relationships with overall governmental assessments for those who are relatively uncertain about a governmental institution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-840
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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