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Where Do Perceptions Match Provision? A Method for Learning the Scope Conditions of Retrospective Evaluation Theories

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Abstract: Citizens draw on a range of heuristics when evaluating government performance, including assessments of their personal material well-being and salient identities. The literature in African politics has sometimes neglected the role of egotropic heuristics in favor of focusing on identity considerations. We empirically evaluate the extent to which each type of heuristic explains citizens assessment of government policy performance, focusing on citizen satisfaction with roads. We employ an empirical method that treats individual theory membership as a latent variable, estimating the extent to which each citizen s evaluation of service delivery is driven by identity or egotropic considerations. We introduce a new technique that estimates the scope conditions that predict consistency with each theory, finding that democratic competition and growth make identity-based heuristics more relevant, whereas collective hardship make egotropic heuristics more salient.

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