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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.

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Building trust in government in Northeast Asia

Over recent decades, trust has become a major concern for many scholars and officials, many of whom think that the declining trend in the public’s trust in government has become a global phenomenon (Cook 2001; Etzioni and Diprete 1979; Fukuyama 1995; Hardin 2006; National Opinion Research Center 2000; OECD 2000a, 2000b; Putnam 1995; Seligman 1997).1 According to the American National Election Studies (ANES 2005), for example, although there have been some fluctuations, the US citizenry has little confidence in government and the degree of trust has declined over time. Consequently, much of the current wave of work on trust in the advanced countries has been directed at understanding apparent changes in trust over time (Putnam 1995, 2000; Pharr and Putnam 2000; Hardin 2006).

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