Satisfaction with public services is an important index of their quality and an effective way to promote political legitimacy in China. This article empirically examines how three types of public participation contribute to citizens’ satisfaction with public services in China, with special attention to the moderating role of political trust. Using data from 6,089 respondents in a survey conducted in 2020, I find that government-led discussions and nonpolitical participation have a positive effect on public service satisfaction, whereas grass-roots election participation has no statistically significant effect. Participation efficacy, political trust, policy transparency, and unfair treatment are potential factors affecting residents’ satisfaction with public services. In these correlations, political trust has a significant moderating effect. When political trust is weak, the influence of participation on public service satisfaction is null or negative; with greater trust, the negative correlation is mitigated.

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