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27 September 2012

Trust, legitimacy and the effectiveness of public institutions

By Zsolt Boda‚Ä®, Senior Research Fellow Institute for Political Science, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

This paper prepared for the ECPR Joint Session of Workshops that took place in Antwerp in April 2012, is partly based on research founded under the FIDUCIA project.

Why people obey the law? Why would they accept policy changes? How to make them cooperate with state institutions in order to render policy implementation and governing smoother?
These, and similar questions are of a paramount importance if we want to increase policy effectiveness, or governing capacities. The core problem is to find a motivational system that helps to solve the many collective action problems that characterize governance.
The regression results suggest that both the perception of procedural fairness and efficiency of the police and the courts have an effect on public trust placed in them.
At the same time, the strongest effect is demonstrated by the general level of institutional trust: those individuals, who are inclined to trust public institutions more are also more likely to trust a specific one, be it the police or the courts.
At the same time, the second most substantial effect on trust towards these institutions follows from personal experience. In both cases personal experience with the police or the courts is negatively associated with trust levels, which can also be considered the critique of these institutions. Further (preferably comparative) research is necessary to better explore those mechanisms underlying trust in public institutions that this analysis has addressed.

Documents to download

Trust_legitimacy_effectiveness_Boda_ECPRpaper.pdf [0.55 MB],