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Research project

TrustGov: Trust and Trustworthiness in National and Global Governance

Project overview

There is widespread concern among scholars and popular commentators that citizens have grown more distrustful of politicians, sceptical about political institutions, and disillusioned with democratic processes and principles. Cynicism about government is thought to erode civic engagement and conventional forms of political participation, to reduce support for progressive public policies, and to provide the oxygen fuelling authoritarian-populist forces. The risks of democratic backsliding are regarded as particularly serious if public scepticism spreads upwards from core institutions of governance to corrode citizens' evaluations about the performance of liberal democracy and even its core ideals. Some fear a flagging civic culture may potentially contribute towards what many observers see as a liberal democratic retreat around the world.

This project develops a theoretically novel, empirically ambitious and methodologically innovative approach to understanding how trust in agencies of national and global governance relates to trustworthiness. It uses a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to advance our understanding of the drivers of trust and how citizens make trust judgements. These include survey analysis, experiments and focus groups, drawing evidence from a large number of countries.

As part of its activities the TrustGov project sponsored surveys in a number of countries for the 7th Wave of the World Values Survey.


Lead researcher

Professor Will Jennings

Associate Dean Research & Enterprise

Research interests

  • Public policy
  • Public opinion
  • Polling
Other researchers

Professor Gerry Stoker

Chair in Governance

Research interests

  • 1. Much of Gerry Stoker's intitial work focused on local government and urban politics. Key publications include Remaking Planning, 1989 ( with Tim Brindley and Yvonne Rydin and the single-authored The Politics of Local Government (1988) and Transforming Local Governance (2004) 
  • 2. A broader focus on the concept and practice  of governance is reflected  in various article widely cited articles and co-authored  books published including Towards Holistic Governance(2002), Governance Theory and Practice(2009) and Nuclear Power and Energy Policy. The Limits to Governance(2015) 
  • 3. Contributions to debates about how to conduct political science are reflected in four editions of the edited volume (with David Marsh) Theory and Methods in Political Science (1995, 2002, 2010, 2018)  and a co-edited book The Relevance of Political Science. Articles on developing a design arm or solution-orientation to political science have also been written

Research outputs

, 2023 , Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Type: article
Hannah Bunting,
, 2023
Type: bookChapter
James Weinberg,
Ben Seyd,
Jennifer R. Gaskell,
Joseph A. Hamm,
& Sonja Zmerli
, 2021 , Frontiers in Political Science , 3
Type: letterEditorial
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