Multi-level Governance

Trust in Government: Understanding its Territorial Divides


What is the issue?

In many advanced economies rising inequalities and disparities in regional economic performance, notably among urban and rural areas, appear to be met with rising citizen mistrust in government and publici institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic risks exacerbating the disparities given its asymmetric socio-economic impact. Meanwhile, trust in government has been crucial for generating compliance with containment measures, vaccine acceptance and successfully managing the crisis. Understanding regional and local drivers of trust in government can help policymakers better tackle the underlying sources of declining trust and design targeted strategies for a resilient recovery.

The OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE) is launching a new stream of work to explore the territorial dimensions of trust in government. It is organised in partnership with the OECD Public Governance Directorate (GOV) as part of the broader OECD work on the drivers of trust in government and public institutions.



On 7 July 2021, the OECD Webinar "Trust in Government: Understanding its Territorial Divides" brought together experts from around the world to build the knowledge base and promote international dialogue on:

  • the drivers of regional divides in trust in government and the challenges in measuring these;
  • the local drivers of trust in government and strategies to address the trust divide across territories, notably among urban and rural areas.

The Webinar also explored whether local characteristics and socio-economic conditions can influence trust in government, as well as the role of place-based policies and multi-level governance mechanisms in addressing the underlying determinants of trust and mistrust.


Agenda | Summary 


Presentations by OECD and international experts 

  • Dorothée Allain-Dupré, Head of Division, Regional Development Policy and Multi-level Governance Division, CFE, OECD
  • Monica Brezzi, Head of Division, Governance Indicators and Performance Evaluation Division, GOV, OECD
  • Lewis Dijkstra, Head of the Economic Analysis Sector, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
  • Neil Lee, Professor of Economic Geography, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, London, the United Kingdom
  • Anthony F. Pipa, Senior Fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development, the Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., the United States
  • Danielle Wood, Chief Executive Officer, the Grattan Institute, Melbourne, Australia 



Related link: Trust in Government



Maria Varinia Michalun (


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