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One factor seems to dictate the extent to which governments have been able to respond successfully to the COVID-19 pandemic: political trust. Trust in political institutions such as the legislature, executive branch, police, and courts, is commonly thought to shape both the stability and quality of democracy. In recent years, as populist leaders and anti-system parties have won high-profile electoral victories, some have presented falling levels of political trust as a crisis – both for established democracies and for their younger counterparts. Citizens report alarmingly low levels of trust in their governments in places as varied as Spain, Tunisia, Peru, Poland and Australia. Partly as a result, many democracy assistance organisations, including the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), support programmes that aim to foster political trust. Sometimes this goal is explicit, but often it is implicit in programme designs and theories of change. For example, in Kyrgyzstan, WFD “invests in the development of MPs, councillors and officials, as well as improving engagement between citizens, institutions and decision-makers to improve trust in governance.” In Tunisia, the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy has supported the Tunisian School of Politics as a means of building trust in the political process. A thorough understanding of the effects of political trust, and how it can be built, is essential to combat the rise of populism and anti-system parties, and would be valuable for democracy assistance more broadly. Despite this, political trust remains poorly understood. This paper reviews existing research on political trust, explaining why it is important, what we know about it, and – perhaps most importantly – what we don’t. It argues that if practitioners, such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, are to foster greater levels of political trust, research into that phenomenon needs to become more innovative. Researchers will need to employ a great variety of methodologies, study a broader range of cases and ask more action-oriented questions to identify what institutional actors – such as parliaments – can do to earn the public’s trust.
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... For example, an increase in political knowledge is generally considered to be beneficial under the democratic ideal of an informed citizenry [19]. Similarly, a certain level of trust in democratic institutions is crucial for a functioning democracy [32]. By contrast, various forms of polarization (particularly affective polarization) tend to split societies into opposing camps and threaten democratic decision making [33,34]. ...
... Less clear but still suggestive are the findings that digital media has positive effects on political knowledge and exposure to diverse viewpoints in news. On the negative side, however, digital media use is associated with eroding the "glue that keeps democracies together" [32]: trust in political institutions. The results indicating this danger converge across methods. ...
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One of today's most controversial and consequential questions is whether the rapid, worldwide uptake of digital media is causally related to a decline in democracy. We conducted a systematic review of causal and correlational evidence (N=498 articles) on the link between digital media and different political variables, such as trust, polarization or news consumption. We further focused on the subset of articles that employed causal inference methods. Across methods, the articles report associations between digital media use and most political variables. Some associations, such as increases in political participation and information consumption, are likely to be beneficial for democracy and were often observed in the Global South and emerging democracies. Other consistently reported associations, such as declining political trust, advantages for populists, and growing polarization, are likely to be detrimental to democracy and were more pronounced in established democracies. We conclude that while the impact of digital media on democracy depends on the specific political variable and the political system in question, several variables show clear directions of associations. We believe that the evidence calls for further research efforts and vigilance by governments and civil societies to better understand and actively design the intimate interplay of digital media and democracy.
... Political trust can be defined as the "belief that the political system or some part of it will produce preferred outcomes even if left untended" (Shi, 2001, p. 401). When speaking of political trust or confidence we usually refer to institutions such as "parliaments, presidents, courts, political parties, and police forces" (Dodsworth, Cheeseman, 2020). If the levels of confidence in the latter are critically low, it is a prerequisite for challenges in the functioning of the political system, may cause instability, and thus the politicians should concern and pay special attention to overcome the situation (Marien, Hooghe, 2011). ...
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At the beginning of 2020, the world faced a new and unexpected challenge. Such a harmful situation has a potential to increase tensions in societies and create citizens’ distrust in their own governments and the European Union. In relation to these observations, the main hypothesis assumes that citizens’ trust in the Union decreased during the pandemic, compared to previous periods. Thus, the aim of the study is to identify the dynamics of trust in the EU in the member states. The research’s object is the citizens of the EU member states and the focus on dynamics in the levels of trust in 2016–2020, measured based on selected indicators. The data for analysis comes from the Eurobarometer. Statistical methods (frequencies and cross tables) and comparative approach are used for the analysis. On the macrolevel, it seemed that European leaders could do better, especially in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the results of the Eurobarometer survey performed in the summer of 2020 show that average trust in the Union did not decreased. Тhe data shows that there is a variety across the countries, which was not presented in the current study. Thus, a further examination focused on the context in each of the countries is required, namely policies and measures stringency.
... There is also evidence that untrusting publics have been pushed to their limits, provoked into unruliness, as in Malawi when people revolted against lockdown orders and the authority of a government already perceived to be illegitimate. In a further twist, human rights coalitions took the government to court and won, resulting in the suspension of restrictions (Dodsworth and Cheeseman, 2020). The control of COVID-19 and the emergence of exit strategies are a massive test of authority and accountability, and the need to be inclusive of all citizens. ...
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COVID-19 is proving to be the long awaited ‘big one’: a pandemic capable of bringing societies and economies to their knees. There is an urgent need to examine how COVID-19 – as a health and development crisis - unfolded the way it did it and to consider possibilities for post-pandemic transformations and for rethinking development more broadly. Drawing on over a decade of research on epidemics, we argue that the origins, unfolding and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic require analysis that addresses both structural political-economic conditions alongside far less ordered, ‘unruly’ processes reflecting complexity, uncertainty, contingency and context-specificity. This structural-unruly duality in the conditions and processes of pandemic emergence, progression and impact provides a lens to view three key challenge areas. The first is how scientific advice and evidence are used in policy, when conditions are rigidly ‘locked in’ to established power relations and yet so uncertain. Second is how economies function, with the COVID-19 crisis having revealed the limits of a conventional model of economic growth. The third concerns how new forms of politics can become the basis of reshaped citizen-state relations in confronting a pandemic, such as those around mutual solidarity and care. COVID-19 demonstrates that we face an uncertain future, where anticipation of and resilience to major shocks must become the core problematic of development studies and practice. Where mainstream approaches to development have been top down, rigid and orientated towards narrowly-defined economic goals, post-COVID-19 development must have a radically transformative, egalitarian and inclusive knowledge and politics at its core.
As most governments in the world currently face the pandemic, various policies and initiatives have been put in place in order to help control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. While these initiatives and interventions are taking place, a pandemic still creates a reality of risk and uncertainty. In these kinds of situations, public trust is greatly important to properly mitigate health and societal impacts of the pandemic. Social media platforms could be utilized as sources of information to gain insight on public sentiment, especially with the rise of social media utilization during the quarantine [13]. Given this, the study attempts to analyze social media sentiments particularly found in Twitter in order to not only look into the polarity of public sentiment on the government, its processes, and its policies, but particularly, to detect trust between the governed and the ones governing. Furthermore, it seeks to examine and analyze the trust narratives present in the Philippines currently. In this study, a supervised machine learning model was created using Linear SVC, utilizing TF-IDF and n-grams for feature extraction and selection in order to detect the respective trust category of a given sentiment and predict the trust category of new data points. While the results are overall negative, examining the trust categories individually demonstrates different narratives that dictate, affect, and express citizen trust towards different aspects of the government. The behavioral trust group provided narratives on certain political figures involved in a string of anomalies for the negative category, while the positive category lauded the VP for her continued service amidst the pandemic. On the other hand, narratives in the institutional trust group revolved around national and local institutions, where talks about national institutions being more prominent in the negative category, while local institutions, such as local government units, are found in the positive category. Lastly, narratives on the operational trust group focused on certain pandemic policies (lockdowns, mass testing, contact tracing) for the negative side, while vaccines and vaccinations were the focus for the positive side.
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The aim of this study is to analyze and assess the impact of institutional factors on political trust in various levels of government (federal, regional and local) in modern Russia. Data and methods. The study is based on microdata from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) “Life in Transition Survey” (LiTS). We examined such institutional factors of political trust as perceived government performance and level of corruption, as well as the level of interpersonal trust. The subjective decile of household wealth was an additional explanatory variable in our analysis. We estimated the model parameters using linear regressions with instrumental variables. Results and their application. First, we found that in 2016 the perceived effectiveness of the federal government was the main determinant of Russian trust in the president. At the same time, the perceived level of local corruption was a major factor of Russian citizens’ (mis)trust in local authorities. Second, we found that poor households turned out to be the most loyal groups of the population towards the Russian president, and we explained this phenomenon by the active redistributive policy of the federal authorities. Third, we revealed a significant positive relationship between political and interpersonal trust at the micro level. In conclusion, we made recommendations on the effective management of political trust in modern Russia.
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