Procedural fairness strongly linked to trust in government

The monopoly effect can lead government to treat its citizens poorly. But citizens do have a choice: they can trust less, argues Professor Allan Lind. The perception of unfair processes or being ignored can lead to citizens disengaging or even refusing to comply with the law.

The perception of fair treatment by bureaucrats “turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of trust” in government, argued Duke University’s Professor Allan Lind (pictured above) at the 2015 Australia and New Zealand School of Government conference.

This means that alienating interactions with public agencies can lead to decreased trust in government as a whole, and potentially lower levels of compliance. This can be over something as simple as feeling like you were never given the chance to have your say in a process, or public servants not explaining why a form needs to be filled out in a certain way.

Although government tends to operate as a monopoly provider, dulling the need to lure customers back, ignoring customer service can affect the legitimacy of public institutions.

Lind recalled how different his experiences were visiting the local Apple store in Durham, North Carolina and the passport office.

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