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In political science a legitimation crisis occurs when a governing structure still retains the legal authority by which to govern, but is not able to demonstrate that its practical functioning fulfills the end for which it was instituted.
Three characteristics may be linked with a legitimation crisis.
- Policy incoherence: Government employees are so busy, they don't necessarily know what they are looking at.
- Institutional will is lost: Employees are not careful about tainting a government institution with decisions which may be seen as mistaken or unpopular.
- Loss of public confidence. The public begins to lose faith in the government to act efficiently and effectively.
- Habermas, Jurgen. Legitimation Crisis. Beacon Press, 1975.
- Held, David (2006). Models of democracy. Cambridge, Stanford Univ Press. p. 195.
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