Experience, attitudes, and willingness to pay for public safety

Amy K. Donahue, Joanne M Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Conditions of fiscal stress in local governments prompt researchers and public officials to seek to assess citizens' attitudes about public services and their inclination to fund enhanced service levels and quality. This study explores the questions of how citizens' attitudes about services influence their willingness to pay for them and how direct and mediated experience with services influence attitudes about them. The authors draw from two broad bodies of work: the public finance literature about demand and the psychology literature about attitudes. The authors propose a conceptual model of the relationships between citizens' direct and mediated exposure to public services, their attitudes about these services, and their willingness to pay for them. The authors present data from a survey of Connecticut adults and use these data to estimate statistical models of the relationship between media exposure and attitudes with regression analysis. They find evidence that direct experience and media exposure affect attitudes and that attitudes predict willingness to pay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-418
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Attitudes
  • Media exposure
  • Public safety
  • Public services
  • Willingness to pay


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