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What Does Political Efficacy Mean?

This article brings to you the definition of political efficacy and its impact on a democracy. It is a determining factor for the participation of citizens in politics.
OpinionFront Staff
Did You Know?
Political efficacy of citizens is more for the local government than for the national government. This is due to the perception of the citizens that their impact on the local governing is more than that on the national governing.
Participation of the people that a government governs over is one of the most important factors that will ensure the smooth functioning of the system. The citizens can be dominated and bullied, however, this cannot continue for long and at some point of time or other they are bound to revolt. Take a look at any ruthless dictatorship regime from the past or even the present and your findings in this regard will be more or less the same.
On the other hand, the type of governance which has been more inclusive of the people that it administers over has found more ease in the formulation and implementation of policies. This can only be achieved when the subjects have trust in their administrative authorities.
What is the Meaning of Political Efficacy?
Political efficacy is a term in political science that refers to the faith that the masses have in their governing authorities. It is a belief that their actions have an impact on the functioning of the system. They believe that the government is doing the most it can do to serve its subjects in the best possible way.
It is present in two forms.
  • Internal efficacy: In this case, the citizens believe that they have an understanding of the political system and also that their abilities and skill-sets can have an effect on it. This increases the chances of participation of the citizens in politics.
  • External efficacy: It is the belief of the citizens that the government will pay attention to their demands and respond accordingly. This is an indicator of absence of active participation from citizens in politics of the country.
Factors influencing political efficacy
The study of political efficacy has been used in political science to mainly determine the voter turnout during elections. This has, by and large, been the driving factor of various strategies at the time of elections. It can also be helpful in knowing the effect that the new policies, which were implemented recently, have had on people.

Traditionally, mass media has played an important role in influencing the opinions of the citizens. In today's times, social media has taken over this role.

Efficacy depends on how readily the political system responds and the efficiency of the response. These things have a psychological impact on the people concerned and affects their beliefs and conviction in the system. In the process, it keeps the limelight on the subjects and not just on their representatives. This, however, is not purely based on the work that has been done by the government, it may also stem from many other psychological factors related to the individual's perception of self. These factors can range from ego, self-confidence, competence, and personal effectiveness.
Impact of political efficacy
Political efficacy has proved to be an important parameter in determining the behavior as well as participation of people in politics. It also plays an important role in determining the course of action that the parties will take in any democracy. The people who are in the know-how of the process, have an in-depth understanding of the differences in the ideologies of various political parties, their candidates, and their campaigns are example of people with higher political efficacy.
This process is a two way street. If the people do not have confidence in the government, then they will have no belief that any of their actions or contributions will have any impact on the system of the nation. Political efficacy of people usually increases with their age. If it is more, then there will be, in general, a satisfaction among the political system of the country and this can ensure a better functioning of the system. Thus a higher amount of trust among citizens for their government is bound to have a positive impact on the system as well as the nation.