The Decline of Confidence in Institutions

May 6th, 2012
in econ_news

Econintersect:  The title of an info graphic displayed in an article at the National Journal is “Confidence In Institutions Declines.”  (Info graphic is displayed questionSMALLbelow.)  Comparing June 2002 to June 2011, there are large declines for everything associated with government, except for the military and police.  There have been declines in confidence ranging from 19% to 49% for organized labor, media and banks (based on Econintersect calculations).  Three institutions have modest improvement in level of confidence are the medical system, the criminal justice system and church and religion, all with gains of 5.5% or less.  There is only one institution on the list with a large positive change; HMOs gained a huge 46% in public confidence.

Follow up:

Here is the info graphic from the National Journal:


Econintersect has calculated the relative changes in confidence for each institution, displayed in the table below:


Editor’s note: Sample calculation:

U.S. Supreme Court:   Decline / 2002 value    =    -13 / 50    =    -0.26   (-26.0%)

Update 7 May 2012 (Hat tip to Roger Erickson):

A survey published 2 May 2012 by the Financial Trust Index (FTI) poll run by the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School (University of Chiacago and Northwestern University) has much different results than the Gallup poll results we have reported here.  See GEI News, 7 May 2012.)  For the same months (June 2011) the FTI indicates 39% trust in banks (vs. 23% Gallup) and 16% trust in large corporations (vs. 19% confidence in big business for Gallup).  The FTI values have declined since June 2011.  The FTI tracks four areas in finance and the March 2012 survey results are shown in the following graph:


An opinion piece by Washington's Blog attributes the root cause of the problem to a fraud perpetrated by a banking-big business-government cabal.

John Lounsbury



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