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 societal trust.

Confidence in the national government is higher in the Asia/Pacific region than among OECD countries (Figure 7.4), and 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 Korea, Mongolia and Armenia. In about half of the countries about 70% of the population has confidence in its national government, and this is over 90% of the population in Singapore. On average, confidence in national government is pretty similar for the youth and total 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 national government has changed little over the last decade, but there is a large variation in trends across countries (Figure 7.4, right scale). Trust in government declined by about 20 percentage points in Armenia and Hong Kong, China. By contrast, trust in the national government increased among the population of Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Patterns in trust of financial institutions vary across countries (Figure 7.5). Since 2006/08, trust in financial institutions declined with the unfolding of the financial crisis in most OECD countries, but not in Japan. In most countries in the Asia/Pacific region trust in financial institutions increased, especially in Indonesia and Cambodia.

In richer countries people tend to perceive relatively low levels of corruption in government (Figure 7.6). Communities in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong (China) and especially Singapore are perceived to have the lowest levels of corruption, whereas over 80% of people in Kyrgyz Rep. and Indonesia think corruption in government is widespread.

Data and measurement

Data on confidence in institutions is taken from the Gallup World Poll, which is conducted in more than 150 countries around the world, and based on a common questionnaire, as translated into the predominant languages of each country. With few exceptions, all samples are probability based and nationally representative of the resident population aged 15 years and over in the entire country, including rural areas. While this ensures a high degree of comparability across countries, results may be affected by sampling and non-sampling error, and variation in response rates. Hence, results should be interpreted with care. These probability surveys are valid within a statistical margin of error, also called a 95% confidence interval. This means that if the survey is conducted 100 times using the exact same procedures, the margin of error would include the “true value” in 95 out of 100 surveys. Sample sizes vary across countries from 1 000 to 4 000, and as the surveys use a clustered sample design the margin of error varies by question. The margin of error declines with increasing sample size: with a sample size of 1 000, the margin of error at a 95% confidence interval is 0.98/picture or 3%; with a sample size of 4 000, this is 1.5%. To minimise the effect of annual fluctuations in responses related to small sample sizes, results are averaged over a three-year period, or two-year period in case of missing data. If only one observation in a three-year period is available this finding is not reported.

Data on national government confidence and financial institutions are based on binary questions: “Do you have confidence in each of the following: In the national government? In financial institutions or banks?”

Data on corruption perception are based on the binary question: “Is corruption widespread throughout the government in this country, or not?”

Figure Note

Figure 7.4. No data available for youth in Australia and Japan.

Figure 7.4. Confidence in national governments is higher in the Asia/Pacific region than in OECD countries
Confidence in national government (%), 2015-17 average
picture

Gallup World Poll (www.gallup.com) and World Bank, World Development Indicators, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900914

Figure 7.5. Confidence in financial institutions increased in most Asia/Pacific economies
Percentage point change between 2006-08 and 2015-17 averages
picture

Gallup World Poll (www.gallup.com) and World Bank, World Development Indicators, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900933

Figure 7.6. Corruption is perceived to be lower in richer countries
picture

Gallup World Poll (www.gallup.com) and World Bank, World Development Indicators, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933900952

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