This study was designed to assess the predictors of citizens' trust in public leaders in Ghana. Specifically, it assesses the effect of eight trust variables—competence/ability, integrity, communication, benevolence, political/quality of governance, rational/economic, risk-taking and socio-demographic characteristics—on citizens' trust in public leaders—the president, members of parliament (MPs) and metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs)—in Ghana from 2016 to 2018.
Summary statistics, bivariate correlation and binary logistic regression were employed to analyze 2,400 responses of Ghanaians obtained from the Afro-Barometer round seven surveys on Ghana (2016–2018).
The results reveal that competence/ability, that is to say, the performance of the president, MPs and MMDCEs, influence citizens' trust in these leaders. Furthermore, communication, benevolence, rationality, risk-taking and socio-demographic variables were significant predictors of citizens' trust in the president. Likewise, competence/ability, communication, politics, benevolence and socio-demographic variables were predictors of citizens' trust in MPs. Additionally, competence/ability, communication, integrity, politics, benevolence and socio-demographic variables influence citizens' trust in MMDCEs. In short, the rationality and risk-taking variables only influence trust in the president, while the political variables influence trust in MPs and MMDCEs. However, integrity influences trust in MMDCEs. Future studies can investigate the factors that account for these differences to augment the current literature.
This article is unique because it examines and compares citizens' trust in three categories of public leaders—the president, MPs and MMDCEs—in Ghana using nationally representative data.