Murtin Fabrice, Fleischer Lara, Siegerink Vincent, Aassve Arnstein, Algan Yann, Boarini Romina, González Santiago, Lonti Zsuzsanna, Grimalda Gianluca, Rafael Hortala, Vallve Rafael, Kim Soonhee, Lee David, Putterman Louis and Smith Conal (2018). “Trust and its determinants”. OECD Statistics Working Papers 2018/02. Paris: OECD.


This paper describes the results of an international initiative on trust (Trustlab) run in six OECD countries between November 2016 and November 2017 (France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Slovenia and the United States). Trustlab combines cutting-edge techniques drawn from behavioural science and experimental economics with an extensive survey on the policy and contextual determinants of trust in others and trust in institutions, administered to representative samples of participants. The main results are as follows: 1) Self-reported measures of trust in institutions are validated experimentally, 2) Self-reported measures of trust in others capture a belief about trustworthiness (as well as altruistic preferences), whereas experimental measures capture willingness to cooperate as well as one’s own trustworthiness. Therefore, both measures are loosely related, and should be considered complementary rather than substitutes; 3) Perceptions of institutional performance strongly correlate with both trust in government and trust in others; 4) Perceived government integrity is the strongest determinant of trust in government; 5) In addition to indicators associated with social capital, such as neighbourhood connectedness and attitudes towards immigration, perceived satisfaction with public services, social preferences and expectations matter for trust in others; 6) There is a large scope for policy action, as an increase in all significant determinants of trust in government by one standard deviation may be conducive to an increase in trust by 30 to 60%.