Building Trust in Government

Innovations in Governance Reform in Asia

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The ability of governments and the global community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, ensure security, and promote adherence to basic standards of human rights depends on people's trust in their government. This book seeks to answer many of the questions raised in reference to means of strengthening trust in government within the Asia Pacific region. Through analyses of trends within North-East Asia, South-East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific Islands and specific innovations and reforms at the country level, it provides various perspectives on the causes of the decline in trust, countries and institutions that have managed to maintain higher degrees of confidence, and governance innovations and practices that have played an important role in strengthening trust once it has faltered.



Building trust in government: Linking theory with practice

One simple question occupying the mind of the ordinary citizen today is the following: Whom should I be wary of if not the government that wields great power with great temptations to abuse it (Bentham 1999)? This should not come as a surprise when democracies themselves are conceived, and correctly so, as regimes of regulated and institutionalized political conflict (Braithwaite 1998; Dunn 1988; Sztompka 1999; Thompson 2004). In both the developed and the developing world, citizens asking themselves this very same question play a political game of delegation of power with uncertain outcomes. This is mainly because the motivations and actions of political leaders cannot be known in advance with certainty (Przeworski 1991). Trust, in this regard, emerges as one of the most important ingredients upon which the legitimacy and sustainability of political systems are built and maintained.


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