How do Political Decision-Making Processes Affect the Acceptability of Decisions? Results from an Experimental Scenario Survey

This study examines what types of political decision-making processes affect the public’s acceptability of decisions by using the framework of procedural fairness theory. Procedural fairness theory has been studied in social psychology for more than 40 years. These studies show that people tend to accept an authority’s decision when they perceive that the process is fair. More studies exist in legal and business fields as compared to political settings. Therefore, using an experimental scenario survey conducted in Japan, I will examine whether procedural fairness criteria in a local council’s political decision-making process affects perceptions of procedural fairness and the acceptability of the decision among the public, even if the outcome is not favourable for them. Procedural fairness criteria refer to two conditions: people’s participation in the decision-making process and an agreement among local council members is reached regardless of faction. In political science, there is lesser number of studies on the public’s preferences regarding processes compared to perceptions regarding policies. For this reason, this study will contribute to this field both academically and in practice. As an example of the latter, most local governments in Japan are experiencing revenue deficits and hence they cannot fulfil all public needs. Thus, it is important to understand what types of procedure in the political decision-making process are more likely to result in people accepting the decisions made.

About the presenter:

Associate Professor Miho Nakatani is an Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science at Meiji Gakuin University. She earned a Ph.D. in Law from Keio University in Japan. Her research and publications have focused on political representation, political participation, and local politics in Japan. Her interests in political representation concern how representatives work and how they represent the public. To understand this, she surveyed members of Japan’s prefectural assemblies and studied the gap between the perceptions of the public and legislators regarding the role that representatives should play. The results of these surveys were published in a book and as a series of academic papers. She is also interested in political participation among youth. She has examined the motivation to vote among youth under the age of 20 in detail using survey data from several university students and by applying expectation-value theory. She is involved in political education aimed at youth and serves as a Councillor of the Association for Promoting Fair Elections. She previously worked as an editor of supplementary material for political education, which the Ministry of Education distributes among all high school students in Japan.

Date & time

Thu 28 Feb 2019, 12–2pm


LJ Hume Centre, Copland Building, ANU


Miho Nakatani


Feodor Snagovsky


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