International Politics, Trust and Public Health


Trust in government shapes a range of important political and social behaviors. In general, low trust in government reduces individuals' willingness to engage and comply with its institutions and policies. Consequently, low levels of trust in government hinder the state's ability to effectively lead during crises, as citizens with a wary view of the state are unlikely to comply with state directives that have direct impact on their personal lives. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the potentially devastating consequences of low levels of trust in government, as individuals around the globe with lower levels of trust were less likely to follow government public health recommendations meant to slow infections and deaths. Furthermore, the adverse consequences of trust deficits extend well beyond the recent COVID-19 pandemic to perceptions of health services more generally. This course analyzes the links between trust and public health outcomes, paying special attention to the different sources of low trust. For example, low trust in government can stem from perceptions of recent performance, and thus be amenable to public relations campaigns to improve citizens' perceptions. This view is consistent with the approach of international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN), who have focused on short-term programs to promote public trust in government as a means to achieve widespread vaccination. Alternatively, trust may result from the lingering effects of influential and traumatic historical events, such as armed conflicts or systematic repression against a particular group or geographic area. Indeed, prominent research in political science and economics indicates that trust in government has enduring geographic variation and is, at least in part, a product of deeply historical factors. We explore how the sources of low trust among different groups of citizens influences possible policy solutio
Course Attributes: EN S; AS SSC

Section 01

International Politics, Trust and Public Health
INSTRUCTOR: Gabel, Carter
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