- ISSN :
- 1815-2031 (online)
- DOI :
The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics Directorate – is designed to make available in a timely fashion and to a wider readership selected studies prepared by staff in the Secretariat or by outside consultants working on OECD projects. The papers included are of a technical, methodological or statistical policy nature and relate to statistical work relevant to the organisation. The Working Papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.
How Good is Trust?
Measuring Trust and its Role for the Progress of SocietiesClick to Access:
- Adolfo Morrone1, Noemi Tontoranelli2, Giulia Ranuzzi3
- Author Affiliations
- 1: Italian National Institute of Statistics, Italy
- 2: Unicredit, Italy
- 3: OECD, France
- Publication Date
- 23 Oct 2009
- Bibliographic information
This paper investigates the notion and role of trust in modern societies as a first step towards the construction of indicators that could better inform our understanding of societal progress. Trust is commonly viewed as a proxy indicator of social capital, and a high level of trust is considered a factor that can enhance economic growth and social well-being. Indicators of trust inform about the quality of people’s interactions with others, hence on their assessment of the extent to which other people in the community are perceived as potential partners rather than as rivals. The paper, starting from the various notions and theories of trust provided in literature, discusses different definitions of trust, its various dimensions (i.e. interpersonal and institutional trust), their relation to the broader notion of social capital, and the different factors that affect it. It then overviews the measures currently used to assess trust, discussing their advantages and disadvantages. Questions assessing the degree of trust of respondents towards other people and institutions have been asked in dozens of large-scale surveys worldwide, and these data highlight systematic relations between trust and various dimensions of economic and social well-being. The paper concludes by noting the limits of available evidence and the scope for improvements through better survey design and more comparable survey questions.