In the Netherlands the word ‘kloof’ is used to describe the metaphorical1 distance between the government and its citizens. The kloof is defined here as the distance that civilians perceive between themselves individually and their government. It is generally believed that without intervention this kloof will widen over time. This thesis investigates three interventions that, among other objectives, aim to narrow the kloof between citizens and their local government. These three interventions are i) the improvement of the architectural quality procedure, ii) an arrangement of neighbourhood budget and iii) the referen- dum. The architectural quality procedure is empirically investigated in the community of Heerenveen and the former communities of Skarsterlân and Lemsterland. The arrangement of neighbourhood budget is investigated in the community of Emmen and the referendum is investigated in the community of Groningen. The empirical data are used to find whether and how the kloof narrows by these three interventions. We have used two theories that enable to measure the effect of the interventions. These theories are a) the rational choice theory and b) the procedural justice theory. The first theory investigates the citizens level of satisfaction with the outcome of an interaction with the government and the second investigates to what extent citizens are satisfied with the way in which the government behaved or treated them during such an interaction. The width of the kloof can be changed if two conditions are met. The interaction with the government must be important to the citizen and the citizen must be surprised by either the outcome or the way the government behaves. If citizens are highly emotionally involved and are positively surprised with either the outcome or the treatment they experience, the kloof narrows. On the other hand, if citizens with the same level of involvement are negatively surprised the kloof will widen. If citizens do not have any emotional involvement we may expect to see no change in the kloof. This summary briefly describes the three interventions along with the findings from our investigations, and follows with a discussion of the impact of the interventions on society. How far did the interventions made to citizens change their position on the kloof and what can we conclude about the endurance of the interventions?
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||13 May 2015|
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publication status||Published - 13 May 2015|