Though new information and communications technology (ICTs) have facilitated unprecedented access between citizens, governments and key decision-makers, public trust in government remains at near-historic lows. Low voter turnout rates and rising dissatisfaction with the democratic process have become all too common, reflecting an overall decline in public trust. From Occupy Wall Street to the rise of the Tea Party, a dearth in public trust has led citizens of all political stripes to mobilize against prevailing institutions in attempts to reclaim their agency.
While there are many factors contributing to declining public trust, there is a growing perception that governments are unwilling to listen and respond to public concerns. A 2003 Pew Research study on trust and participation indicated that only 39% of Americans believed that elected officials and government cared about the opinions of citizens. Ten years later, a study by Gilens and Page (2013) found that the overwhelming influence of economic elites, interest groups, and lobby groups means that the average citizen has essentially no impact on public policy decisions.