Unformatted text preview: Investigating the Dynamics of Trust in Government:
Drivers and Effects of Policy Initiatives and Government Action 1
Martinez-Moyano 2 Michael E.
Samsa Thomas E.
Baldwin Bradford J.
Willke Andrew P.
Moore [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Decision and Information Sciences Division
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue, Bldg. 900
Argonne, IL 60439 Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
4500 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Introduction
Governments face important challenges today, including the erosion of the social systems,
terrorist activities, and global warming. In order to be successful, governments must have support
from its citizens in the form of confidence and trust. (For a review of the literature, see Blind,
2007.) Because “trust is an important barometer of public satisfaction with government, and has
important electoral consequences” (Keele, 2005, p. 884) and because “low trust helps create a
political environment in which it is more difficult for leaders to succeed” (Hetherington, 1998, p.
791), understanding the dynamics of trust in government seems central for determining the ways
to generate government actions that lead to adequate government performance. Building on the
work by Baldwin, Ramaprasad, and Samsa (2006), which examines the components of public
confidence in government as they relate to prevention of terrorist attacks, we create a framework
for understanding the dynamics of trust in government and how these influence policy initiatives,
government actions, and, ultimately, outcomes observed by the public. Following the rationale
presented in the literature (Keele, 2005, 2007), we hypothesize that people’s trust (or distrust) in
government has a direct effect on the success of the government’s initiatives. Similar to the work
of Cook and Gronke (2005b), we conceptualize a trust continuum from low to high in which the
population falls in a normally distributed fashion under normal circumstances (see...
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