Trust and the Growth of Government

The decline in the public’s trust of government, given its increased importance in society, has caused great unease among many commentators. A concern often raised is that trust is an important aspect of social capital and its decline may detract from the performance of government, as well as in the ease and efficacy of economic and social interactions. Moreover, the simultaneous growth in government and deterioration in trust in government presents something of a paradox: How does a mistrusted institution grow and become so large? This article develops a framework to understand this paradox as well as related issues.

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