Social challenges

Strengthening public trust

15/02/2023 PNG

The results of the OECD survey on drivers of trust in public institutions show that OECD countries perform reasonably well on average on many measures of governance – such as citizens’ perceptions of government reliability, service provision, access to administrative information, and data openness.

Share of respondents who indicate different levels of trust in their national government OECD average, 2021

But the results also show that trust levels decreased slightly in 2021, as the world emerged from the largest health, economic and social crisis in decades.

The 2021 trust survey indicates that low levels of trust in government and public institutions often result from perceptions of vulnerability and fears of being left behind economically, socially and politically.

They are also correlated with lower levels of education, income and perceived social status.

Citizens feel that governments could better respond to their expectations related to equal opportunities for representation, more meaningful engagement processes, higher levels of integrity in policy-making processes, and more credible policy commitments to tackling inequalities and long-term challenges like climate change.

Governments must also do better giving all people a voice and responding to those voices. Improving government responsiveness, driving more citizen-centred policies and programmes, and boosting social cohesion will be essential for increasing trust in government.

See also: Learn more about trust and democracy