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Trust and Public Policy

How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust

image of Trust and Public Policy

Trust plays a very tangible role in the effectiveness of government. Few perceptions are more palpable than that of trust or its absence. Governments ignore this at their peril. Yet, public trust has been eroding just when policy makers need it most, given persistent unemployment, rising inequality and a variety of global pressures. This report examines the influence of trust on policy making and explores some of the steps governments can take to strengthen public trust.

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Who earns the trust of citizens and why: Experiences from the private sector

A recurring theme of the report is the close parallel between what public institutions are starting to do today to build trust, and the ways that private companies routinely use trust to attract and retain customers, through deliberate and well-thought out “trust strategies”. This chapter uses two case studies – e-commerce and autonomous cars – to illustrate how the private sector builds trust. Gaining the trust of society is recognised as one of the main hurdles to wider adoption of any new technology. For example, carmakers across the world are working intensively with users to earn trust through direct experience with driverless cars. Trust is essentially about inferring future behaviour or events despite incomplete information. Most people have already taken this step with e-commerce and, according to many experts, will soon do the same for driverless cars.

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