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Abstract

This paper explores the role of direct citizen participation, trust, and environmental literacy and its impact on the legitimacy of government institutions in the context of environmental governance in the U.S. The current knowledge regarding the dynamics of the institutional legitimacy at the policy level is significantly lacking. This paper addresses broadly the effects of direct citizen participation, citizen trust, and environmental literacy on government legitimacy. Findings indicate that citizens prefer government institutions over ordinary people on leading environmental governance. However, the preference was less clear when asked to choose between the government and businesses as to who should lead environmental governance. Implications for government leadership on the issues of environmental policy are discussed at the end of the paper