Political scandal, online participation and the rebuilding of institutional legitimacy: The case of the Estonian Citizens’ Assembly

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


The Estonian Citizens’ Assembly (ECA) was initiated in late 2012 as a direct consequence of a legitimacy crisis of Estonian political parties and representative institutions. The spark igniting this crisis was the unravelling of a scheme of illegal party financing. The response from the governmental institutions took the form of a democratic innovation drawing on public crowd-sourcing and deliberative mini-publics. This study is conducted on the basis of a broad survey among the participants in the culminating deliberative process of the ECA (n=847). The focus of this paper is on the relationship between citizen participation and political trust. Two main research questions guides this paper: (1) How has participants vertical and social trust developed in relation to their participation in the ECA?, and (2) What factors explain variations of change in trust among participants? While existing research questions whether citizens
engagement in political participation functions as a source of trust, participatory processes alike the ECA are continually being initiated with the explicit aim of impeding developments of growing public distrust and fostering a greater trust in governmental institutions.


External organisations
  • Örebro University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 21
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes
EventInternet, Policy & Politics Conference: Long Live Democracy? - University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 2018 Sep 202018 Sep 21


ConferenceInternet, Policy & Politics Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address