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Can Governments Earn Our Trust?



Can Governments Earn Our Trust?

Donald F. Kettl

ISBN: 978-1-509-52249-1 August 2017 Polity 144 Pages


Some analysts have called distrust the biggest governmental crisis of our time. It is unquestionably a huge problem, undermining confidence in our elected institutions, shrinking social capital, slowing innovation, and raising existential questions for democratic government itself. 
What’s behind the rising distrust in democracies around the world and can we do anything about it? In this lively and thought-provoking essay, Donald F. Kettl, a leading scholar of public policy and management, investigates the deep historical roots of distrust in government, exploring its effects on the social contract between citizens and their elected representatives. Most importantly, the book examines the strategies that present-day governments can follow to earn back our trust, so that the officials we elect can govern more effectively on our behalf.

1. The Puzzle of Trust
2. The Case for Distrust
3. Earning Trust
4. Blocking Trust
Further Reading
"This short book is incredibly important. Trust is central to good governance and to promoting equality the world over, yet it is a commodity in short supply. With impressive concision and clarity Kettl lays out the enduring problem of declining trust in government and offers encouraging arguments for its potential resurgence in democratic political systems."
Marc J. Hetherington, Vanderbilt University

"In an era where the word 'trust' is often used without definition, thought, or sincerity, Kettl's work is a breath of fresh air and a strong contribution to our thinking about trust in government."
Rosemary O'Leary, University of Kansas