Theme Panel: Revitalizing Legitimacy: Integrating Concepts, Measurement, and Analysis

Revitalizing Legitimacy: Integrating Concepts, Measurement, and Analysis

The legitimacy of authorities and institutions is a foundational concern in political science and the social sciences generally. While political theorists have developed insights about the normative foundations of legitimacy for centuries, an operationally crisp implementation of the concept as an empirical phenomenon has proved surprisingly elusive. The purpose of this roundtable is to frame a research agenda for the scientifically rigorous study of the sources and consequences of legitimate authority. Particular attention will be given to the problem of measurement and the difficulty of distinguishing the legitimating effects of institutions and leaders’ choices on citizens’ evaluations and behaviors from differences in outcomes arising due to material incentives. Drawing on their different backgrounds, the panelists will discuss competing conceptions of legitimacy, the theoretical mechanisms linking legitimacy to citizen behavior, and challenges of measurement and research design that make testing these theoretical accounts both difficult and exciting.

Eric Dickson, New York University (Presenter)
Sanford C. Gordon, New York University (Presenter)
Gregory Huber, Yale University (Chair)
Leonie Huddy, SUNY, Stony Brook (Presenter)
Macartan Humphreys, Columbia University (Presenter)
Margaret Levi, Stanford University (Presenter)