Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Oscar W. Gabriel
Political efficacy is one of the most important topics in research on political attitudes and political culture. A large number of terms such as ego strength, self-esteem, self-reliance, subjective or civic political competence, or (lack of) powerlessness/futility can be found in the relevant literature as equivalents. The concept, which was first introduced into empirical research by Angus Campbell, Gerald Gurin, and Warren Edward Miller (1954), referred to the citizen's self-perception as a knowledgeable, active, and self-confident participant in political life. According to Campbell et al., the sense of political efficacy refers to the feeling that individual political action has or can have an impact on the political process. Political efficacy includes cognitive and behavioral components. The cognitive dimension refers to an individual's subjective belief that he or she is able to understand what is going on in politics, while the behavioral component taps the citizen's conviction that he or she ...