Confidence in institutions

A cohesive society is one where citizens have confidence in national (and sub-national) level institutions and believe that social and economic institutions are not subjected to corruption. Confidence and corruption issues are dimensions that are strongly related to the societal trust.

Confidence in the national government is higher in the Asia/Pacific region than among OECD countries (Figure 6.4): Australians, Japanese, Koreans and New Zealanders have less confidence in their national governments than their Asian/Pacific peers. Confidence in national government seems lowest in Georgia, Korea and Mongolia. In about half of the countries, about 70% of the population has confidence in its national government, and this is over 90% for the populations in Singapore, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. On average, confidence in national government is similar for youth and the rest of the adult population, but young people in Hong Kong, China have far less confidence in their government than older Hong Kong residents.

On average, across the Asia/Pacific region, confidence in the national government has changed little over the last decade, but there is a large variation in trends across countries (Figure 6.4). Trust in government declined by more than 20 percentage points in Hong Kong, China and Sri Lanka. By contrast, trust in the national government increased among the population of Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

Even though there is still considerable variation across countries, dispersion in the level of confidence in national government seems to have slightly declined in the Asia/Pacific region at the beginning of the pandemic (Figure 6.5). The minimum level observed in confidence in the national government increased by 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2020.

In richer countries, people tend to perceive relatively low levels of corruption in government (Figure 6.6). Communities in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong (China) and especially Singapore are perceived to have the lowest levels of corruption, whereas close to or over 80% of people in Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia think corruption in government is widespread.

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