18B804F7d01 - Trust in government the relative importance...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Trust in government the relative importance of service satisfaction, political factors and demography Tom Christensen Per LAgreid Department of Political Science, Department of Administration and University of Oslo Organization Theory/Rokkan-center, E-mail: tom.christensen@stv.uio.no University of Bergen E-mail: Per.Lagreid@aorg.uib.no Paper prepared for the Conference of the European Group of Public Administration, 4-7 September 2002, Potsdam, Germany - group on Quality, satisfaction and trust in government Abstract This paper focuses on trust in government, meaning the parliament, the cabinet, the civil service, local councils, political parties and politicians. Trust is measured in terms of specific support -- as indicated by peoples satisfaction with specific public services -- and contrasted with more general support, determined by political culture and demographic factors. The data used in this analysis are taken from a broad mass survey of Norwegian citizens conducted in 2001. The main findings are first, that peoples trust in government is of a general character: a high level of trust in one institution tends to extend to other institutions. Second, political- cultural variables have the strongest overall effect on variations in peoples trust in government. Here, the single most important factor is general satisfaction with democracy. Third, citizens who are satisfied with specific public services generally have a higher level of trust in public institutions than citizens who are dissatisfied. Fourth, trust in government is also influenced by demographic factors, such as age, education and occupation. 1 Introduction. Trust in government is a multi-faceted, rather ambiguous concept. It covers general and systemic factors, such as the legitimacy accorded to the political-administrative system, but also more specific experiences with the government and its services and the dynamic interaction between the two (Bouckaert and Van de Walle 2001). Public opinion about governmental institutions is quite inconsistent and ambivalent, and it is characterized more by cognitive complexity than by consistency (Forster and Snyder 1988, Hill 1992, Listhaug 1990, Rainey 1996). Citizens are often sceptical towards the public sector when asked in general and abstract terms, but relatively satisfied with more specific services. Generally speaking, they want more service delivery from the public sector (Bennett and Bennett 1990, Goodsell 1994, Huseby 1995, Ladd 1983, LAgreid 1997). Fredericksson (1997) describes this ambivalence as the paradox of distance. While people trust government officials who are near at hand, they believe that government officials who are far away are lazy, incompetent and probably dishonest. This paradox may partly be a function of political rhetoric and the lambasting of political and administrative actors and institutions by the media, but also of citizens general disengagement from political life. In view of this paradox, an elaboration of...
View Full Document

Page1 / 30

18B804F7d01 - Trust in government the relative importance...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online