The interaction between perceived procedural fairness and perceived disagreement in deliberation

Abstract

In this study, we examined one key factor in the process of deliberation, namely, perceived procedural fairness. Another important factor, perceived disagreement, which has played a mixed role in deliberation, was used to test its interactive relationship with perceived procedural fairness. A field study utilizing cross-sectional survey data showed that perceived procedural fairness positively related to both enjoyment and perceived institutional legitimacy of deliberation. Perceived disagreement positively related to perceived institutional legitimacy. Meanwhile, perceived disagreement functioned as a moderator that conditioned the influence of perceived procedural fairness: disagreement strengthened the positive relationship between procedural fairness and enjoyment, while weakened the positive relationship between procedural fairness and perceived institutional legitimacy. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed at the end of the paper.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    We chose to include participants who logged into the platform at least once because our platform was designed as that when a participant logged in the first time, he/she had to go through a set of interactive education material, which presents diverse views on the issue. So these participants can be understood as having been exposed to some deliberation treatment. A comparison of the demographics of those who did log into the platform at least once versus the census data showed that our participants were more likely to be male, Chinese, young, highly educated, and receiving high income.

  2. 2.

    Since our data were collected from a cross-sectional survey, critics may stipulate that the directions of the paths can go the opposite, i.e., enjoyment and perceived institutional legitimacy predict perceived procedural fairness and disagreement. We conducted a path analysis using an alternative model, which included perceived procedural fairness and disagreement as the endogenous variables, whereas enjoyment and perceived institutional legitimacy as exogenous variables. Same control variables and same analytical steps were followed. Our analyses show that firstly, the path leading from enjoyment to perceived disagreement was not statistically significant. Secondly, the model fit was much worse, with, for instance, RMSEA = 0.14, much higher than the minimum acceptable value of 0.06 (Hu and Bentler 1999). We thus concluded that the alternative model is less plausible than the model presented in this paper.

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Correspondence to Weiyu Zhang.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 2.

Table 2 Sample sizes and response rates at various stages

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Zhang, W., Yang, T. The interaction between perceived procedural fairness and perceived disagreement in deliberation. Acta Polit 55, 199–220 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41269-018-0112-2

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Keywords

  • Deliberation
  • Disagreement
  • Enjoyment
  • Legitimacy
  • Procedural fairness
  • Procedural justice