Confidence in Government: An Empirical Study of Opinion in 60 Countries

9 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2016 Last revised: 6 Jun 2016

See all articles by Robert W. McGee

Robert W. McGee

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting

Date Written: May 31, 2016


Confidence in the federal government of the United States has been very low in recent years. The reasons for the low regard with which American politicians and institutions are held is apparent from reading the front page of every major newspaper in America. The constant lies by politicians, the various scandals in Washington and elsewhere, mass murders by federal government officials going back to Waco, Ruby Ridge, and even Wounded Knee have destroyed whatever trust and confidence Americans once had in their government.

Various cover-ups, such as the IRS scandal where IRS employees targeted conservative groups, disappearing emails, both by IRS officials and Hillary Clinton, the suspected murders of enemies of the Clintons, President Johnson and others, the Nixon Watergate scandal, annual deficits that are out of control regardless of which party is in power, military invasions of countries that pose no threat to the United States, and so forth, have all chipped away at the integrity of government officials and institutions. Many people are starting to think of secession as a viable option to the status quo.

Other countries have had their own ups and downs over the years, and it is reasonable to expect that the confidence in their governments has been affected by those changes. The present study uses the most recent data for 60 countries using the World Values Survey statistics to determine the extent of confidence the various sample populations have in their governments. Mean scores are ranked from highest to lowest degree of confidence.

Keywords: confidence in government, trust, North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Middle East, Oceania, Europe, corruption, scope of government, federalism, comparative study

JEL Classification: H1, H11, H5, H77, H81, I18, I3, N4, O5, O51, O52, O53, O54, O55, O56, O57

Suggested Citation

McGee, Robert W., Confidence in Government: An Empirical Study of Opinion in 60 Countries (May 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Robert W. McGee (Contact Author)

Fayetteville State University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Fayetteville, NC 28301
United States


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