Citizens' Trust in Ministries

Citizens' Trust in Ministries

Risto Harisalo (University of Tampere, Finland) and Jari Stenvall (University of Lapland, Finland)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-126-1.ch007
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Citizens have many roles in our contemporary liberal democracies. From these roles one is to trust or mistrust governmental agencies. They must trust them, at least to a certain extent, because they experience in their own lives deleterious consequences of badly-designed public policies. They must distrust them, again to a certain extent, because a fear of distrust keeps policy-makers on alert about how their policy ideas might change public opinion. This chapter is the infrequent empirical analysis of citizens’ trust and mistrust in ministries as central policy-makers in Finland. It is based on the national survey. It shows that citizens are suspicious of most of the ministries in terms of developing public services, regulation, financial transfers, and citizen orientation. According to the empirical results ministries should be aware of public failure and quickly rethink their priorities and policy-styles. This chapter stresses the need to reinvent policy-making and its political culture. Democracy will severely deteriorate if public authorities will not take on this challenge.

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