OECD publishes report on public trust

On 27 March 2017, the Organisation for economic co-operation and development (OECD) published a report on trust and public policy. This publication occurs with the 5th OECD global Anti-corruption and Integrity forum. The report presents different options aiming to rebuild trust between citizens and governments.

The decline of public trust

Globally OECD observes a decline of citizens’ trust in governments. In 2015 only 43% trust their government (Gallup World Poll) and 50% trust their parliament and political parties (Eurobarometer/European Social Survey). This erosion has direct causes and consequences: anxiety about weak growth, anger over corruption and fiscal evasion, inability of governments to face major issues such as climate change or geopolitical tensions.

OECD insists on the fact that trust is necessary for building and implementing public policies. For example, there is a strong correlation between degree of trust and the measured corruption of governments. Economically, a low level of trust implies higher transaction costs and higher risk aversion. Socially, the weakening of trust endangers cohesion and social resource sharing ensured by the states.

The report’s proposals

The report underlines two main factors that may lead towards higher trust: competence and values. The first one should permit to answer citizens’ expectation, the second one should ensure public officials’ accountability.

Regarding competence, OECD draws attention on local and national budget management. The organization recommends also a better transparency in order to promote collaboration between public and private actors.

Regarding values, the report underlines the fact that public actors should internalize high standard of probity. They also have to act as example in order to promote a real integrity culture in the whole society.

Some OECD recommendations are in line with the proposals made by the president of the High authority, Mr. Jean-Louis Nadal, in his report “Renouer la confiance publique”. Answering common concerns, both reports promote a broader diffusion of public data or the creation of a lobby register such as the one which was created by the “Sapin II” law and will be managed by the High authority.

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