Trust, Collaboration, and Policy Attitudes in the Public Sector

45 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2020

See all articles by Philip Keefer

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank

Sergio Perilla

Universidad del Rosario, Economics Department; Inter-American Development Bank

Razvan Vlaicu

Inter-American Development Bank; University of Maryland

Date Written: December 18, 2020

Abstract

This paper examines new data on public sector employees from eighteen Latin American countries to shed light on the role of trust in the performance of government agencies. We developed an original survey taken during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic that includes randomized experiments with pandemic-related treatments. We document that individual-level trust in coworkers, other public employees, and citizens is positively related to performance-enhancing behaviors, such as cooperation and information sharing, and policy attitudes, such as openness to technological innovations in public service delivery. Trust is more strongly linked to positive behaviors and attitudes in non-merit-based civil service systems. High-trust and low-trust respondents report different assessments of their main work constraints. Also, they draw different inferences and prefer different policy responses when exposed to data-based framing treatments about social distancing outcomes in their countries. Low-trust public employees are more likely to assign responsibility for a negative outcome to the government and to prefer stricter enforcement of social distancing.

Keywords: trust, cooperation, policy attitudes, public sector, survey experiments

JEL Classification: D73, H83

Suggested Citation

Keefer, Philip and Perilla, Sergio and Vlaicu, Razvan, Trust, Collaboration, and Policy Attitudes in the Public Sector (December 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3751514 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3751514

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States
202-623-1961 (Phone)

Sergio Perilla

Universidad del Rosario, Economics Department ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Razvan Vlaicu (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

University of Maryland ( email )

3114 Tydings Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
59
Abstract Views
345
rank
495,266
PlumX Metrics