Citizen (Dis)satisfaction: An Experimental Equivalence Framing Study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

This article introduces the importance of equivalence framing for understanding how satisfaction measures affect citizens’ evaluation of public services. Does a 90 percent satisfaction rate have a different effect than a logically equivalent 10 percent dissatisfaction rate? Two experiments were conducted on citizens’ evaluations of hospital services in a large, nationally representative sample of Danish citizens. Both experiments found that exposing citizens to a patient dissatisfaction measure led to more negative views of public service than exposing them to a logically equivalent satisfaction metric. There is some support for part of the shift in evaluations being caused by a negativity bias: dissatisfaction has a larger negative impact than satisfaction has a positive impact. Both professional experience at a hospital and prior exposure to satisfaction rates reduced the negative response to dissatisfaction rates. The results call for further study of equivalence framing of performance information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)469-478
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - performance indicators, Experimental design, performance management, satisfaction, behavioral public administration

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