OECD Statistics Working Papers

The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics and Data 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.

Joint Working Papers:

Testing the evidence, how good are public sector responsiveness measures and how to improve them? (with OECD Public Governance Directorate)

Measuring Well-being and Progress in Countries at Different Stages of Development: Towards a More Universal Conceptual Framework (with OECD Development Centre)

Measuring and Assessing Job Quality: The OECD Job Quality Framework (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Forecasting GDP during and after the Great Recession: A contest between small-scale bridge and large-scale dynamic factor models (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Which policies increase value for money in health care? (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Compiling mineral and energy resource accounts according to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) 2012 (with OECD Environment Directorate)


The accuracy of measures of institutional trust in household surveys

Evidence from the oecd trust database

A key policy concern in recent years has been the decline in levels of trust by citizen in public institutions. Trust is one of the foundations upon which the legitimacy and sustainability of political systems are built. It is crucial to the implementation of a wide range of policies and influences people’s behavioural responses to such policies. However, despite its acknowledged importance, trust in public institutions is poorly understood and is not consistently measured across OECD countries. The OECD Trust Database brings together information from a wide range of different household surveys containing measures of trust and combines this with information on other social and economic outcomes. The size of the database and range of covariates make it possible to identify the underlying patterns captured by survey based measures of trust in institutions and systematically test the accuracy (i.e. reliability and validity) of these measures. Reliability is tested by examining the consistency of measures of institutional trust across different surveys and between different waves of the same survey. Validity is harder to test than reliability. It is however possible to examine the construct validity of institutional trust measures by looking at whether these measures show the expected correlation with other social and economic variables on a cross-country basis. Analysis of item-specific non-response rates provides important additional information on the face validity of institutional trust measures.


Keywords: reliability, household surveys, accuracy, government, trust
JEL: A13: General Economics and Teaching / General Economics / Relation of Economics to Social Values; H11: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government; C46: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics / Specific Distributions; Specific Statistics; H83: Public Economics / Miscellaneous Issues / Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits
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