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Public governance

Trust in Government

 

ONLY 51% OF CITIZENS TRUSTED THEIR GOVERNMENT IN 2020

As countries grappled with the global pandemic and resulting economic hardship, governments played a crucial role in protecting lives and livelihoods. And yet, on average across OECD countries, only about half of people say that they trust their national government. The OECD is exploring how governments can build trust, not an easy task considering trust had only slightly recovered from the 2008 financial crisis.

 

WHY TRUST MATTERS

Trust is the foundation for the legitimacy of public institutions and a functioning democratic system. It is crucial for maintaining political participation and social cohesion.

During all stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, including containment, mitigation and recovery, trust in public institutions has been vital for governments’ ability to respond rapidly and to secure citizen support. It also matters for planning and implementing an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 emergency

Trust is important for the success of a wide range of public policies that depend on behavioural responses from the public. For example, public trust leads to greater compliance with regulations and the tax system.

In the longer term, trust is needed to tackle long-term societal challenges such as climate change, ageing populations, and the automation of work.

 
 

WHAT DRIVES PUBLIC TRUST IN GOVERNMENT? 


OECD work has identified 5 main public governance drivers of trust in government institutions. They capture the degree to which institutions are responsive and deliver on long-term interests, as well as to design and implement plans that are fair, trustworthy, and open to public scrutiny.  

 

WHAT DRIVES PUBLIC TRUST IN GOVERNMENT?


OECD work has identified 5 main public governance drivers of trust in government institutions. They capture the degree to which institutions are responsive and deliver on long-term interests, as well as to design and implement plans that are fair, trustworthy, and open to public scrutiny. 

 

 

 

Recent revisions to the framework identified 3 additional dimensions that play a role in generating public trust. These are:

a) political participation, i.e. ability and perception of having a say in politics and potential cynicism or distrust towards the system;

b) satisfaction and experience with public services; and

c) evaluation of government action on long-term and global challenges.

 

OECD SURVEY ON DRIVERS OF TRUST IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS


The OECD “Trust Survey” monitors people’s trust across different institutions and levels of government across OECD countries. It poses a set of situational questions to nationally representative samples in order to assess the role of different drivers of public trust. 

 

Survey modules ask about people’s political participation, satisfaction with public services, and their evaluation of government action on key long-term challenges (e.g. climate change, automation, and digitalisation). The survey will explore variation in trust across age, gender, income, education and region in order to build a complete picture of how trust works across diverse groups.



The 2021 edition of the survey includes the following 20 OECD countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and United States.
Stay tuned for results in June 2022.

 

The results will be availabe here - (June 2022)

COUNTRY STUDIES

Country studies provide an in-depth analysis of the main drivers of public trust in the country. It offers recommendations for reforming policies and public sector practices for an inclusive recovery and renewed citizens’trust. 

 

DATA AND RESEARCH

The OECD is contributing to refine measures of trust and its drivers, as well as identifying needs of complementary metrics for cross-country comparisons.

BUILDING A NEW PARADIGM FOR PUBLIC TRUST


The breadth and depth of the COVID-19 crisis makes it incumbent on the public sector to challenge existing models for measuring trust in public institutions. To this end the OECD has launched a series of webinars “Building a new paradigm for public trust” to revisit our analytical framework and exchange knowledge on relevant policies and practices,


The webinars have engaged over 700 policy makers, civil servants, academics and data providers, representatives of non-governmental organizations as well as the private sector.


See summaries, presentations and live recordings from the webinar series.