Citizens' Trust in Public and Political Institutions
Nepal in comparison to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Ishtiaq Jamil Associate Professor at Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen.
Surveys in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka imply some kind of blind, or naive, trust, which may be dysfunctional for the emergence of a democratic governance system.
We analysed to what extent these Asian countries’ bureaucracy represent the country’s huge demographic diversity. Secondly, we analyse to what extent the civil service has become trustworthy and legitimate. Our findings suggest that at the entry level of bureaucracy, a slow revolution is taking place in terms of increased gender and ethnic representativeness. Despite this slow revolution, the bureaucracy has not gained citizens’ confidence.
The perceived trustworthiness of civil servants largely depends on how policies respond to citizens’ needs, whether quality services are provided, and whether the government is prepared to respond effectively to natural disasters, epidemics and other crises. So well-functioning democracy (input) is not enough. It needs to be supplemented by well-functioning institutions (output).
Ishtiaq Jamil is Associate Professor at Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen. He is working on Citizens Trust in Political and Public Institutions in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and is the author of several publications on administrative culture, trust, and citizen charter in international and national journals.
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Photo: House of Parliament, Kathmandu, Nepal.