Public sector reforms often focus on high impact agencies in order to restore trust in government and in public administration. Using an in-person survey on citizens’ attitudes towards public services, we test what public agencies contribute to citizens’ general image of government. It is shown that general measures of satisfaction with the functioning of public services contain more than just an evaluation of bureaucratic encounters. Political factors influence this assessment. Specific evaluations of service quality can differ substantially from attitudes towards public services at large. Therefore, low trust in government, a negative attitude towards public administration at large and a positive image of many specific public services may coexist.

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Public Performance and Management Review
Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

Van de Walle, S., Kampen, J., & Bouckaert, G. (2005). ‘Deep impact for high impact agencies?' Assessing the role of bureaucratic encounters in evaluations of government. Public Performance and Management Review, 28(4), 532–549. doi:10.1080/15309576.2005.11051846