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Public Service Motivation and Public Opinion

Examining Antecedents and Attitudes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2021

Jaclyn S. Piatak
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Stephen B. Holt
Affiliation:
University at Albany, State University of New York

Summary

Practitioners, policymakers, and scholars across fields and disciplines seek to understand factors that shape public opinion and public service values, especially in today's polarized context. Yet we know little about how the two relate. Research on public service motivation (PSM), a drive to help others grounded in public institutions, has grown to examine career decisions and behaviors within and outside the workplace, but does the influence of PSM extend to individual values? Using data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study surrounding the 2016 US presidential election, we first examine the antecedents of PSM; how do individual characteristics as well as socioeconomic and sociocultural factors influence levels of PSM? Second, we describe the role PSM plays in shaping public opinion on policy preferences, budget priorities, and political behaviors. Findings have implications for both understanding who has PSM as well as how PSM shapes public preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.
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Online ISBN: 9781108966672
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication: 11 March 2021
Copyright
© Jaclyn S. Piatak and Stephen B. Holt 2021

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