Public Service Performance and Trust in Government: The Problem of Causality

Van de Walle, S. & Geert Bouckaert, Public Service Performance and Trust in Government: The Problem of Causality, in: International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 29 (8 & 9): 891-913

35 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2013

See all articles by Steven Van de Walle

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Geert Bouckaert

KU Leuven

Date Written: September 13, 2003

Abstract

Concerns for restoring citizens’ trust in government are at the core of public sector modernization. Public distrust is often blamed on the bad functioning of public services, and in political discourse well-functioning public services are said to create trust in government. This is a very rational and mechanistic reasoning, only part of which corresponds to reality. The link between performance and trust can only be made when very specific conditions are present. The core of the discussion deals with causality: it is obvious that performance of the public administration has a certain impact on trust in government, but existing levels of trust in government may also have an impact on perceptions of government performance. In this article, we outline a framework for research on this performance-trust relation.

Keywords: trust, government performance

JEL Classification: D73

Suggested Citation

Van de Walle, Steven and Bouckaert, Geert, Public Service Performance and Trust in Government: The Problem of Causality (September 13, 2003). Van de Walle, S. & Geert Bouckaert, Public Service Performance and Trust in Government: The Problem of Causality, in: International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 29 (8 & 9): 891-913. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2325327

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

Geert Bouckaert

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

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