Edelman Trust Barometer 2016: Global Trust Inequality Growing; In Tandem With Income Inequality

“Trust in institutions and their license to operate is no longer automatically granted on the basis of hierarchy or title, rather in today’s world, trust must be earned.” – Richard Edelman President & CEO

Edelman has published the 2016 edition of its Edelman Trust Barometer, revealing a growing gap between the trust levels of informed publics against a mass population. The gap is driven by income inequality and divergent expectations of the future.

Trust levels among informed publics are the highest ever in 16 years, while trust is below 50 percent for the mass population in over sixty percent of the countries surveyed. The trust disparity has widened and is now at double digit levels in more than half of the countries surveyed. The U.S. presents the largest divide at nearly 20 points followed by the UK (17 points).

Surprisingly, for me, many Asia-Pacific countries covered by the barometer were categorised as “trusters”, with consistent indexes tracked across all population segments.

Country

Informed Public

General Population Mass Population
2015 2016 2016

2016

Australia

52

63 49

47

China

75

82 73

71

India

79

78 65

62

Indonesia

78

70 62

62

Japan

37

41 38

38

S. Korea

47

50 42

40

Malaysia

56

58 51

50

Singapore

65

72 64 62

Data pulled from 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Blue for “trusters”, Grey for “neutrals”, Green for “distrusters”.

China, India, Indonesia and Singapore were categorised as “trusters” across all population categories (informed, general, and mass). Malaysian publics were neutral across the board and Japan’s publics were categorised as “distrusters” across all population segments.

Trust gaps between the informed public and mass population were seen in Australia (16 points) and India (16 points). Japan recorded the lowest trust gap at 3 points – “distrusting” consistently across all population segments.

Trust Gap Directly Linked To Income Inequality

According to Edelman’s research, the widening gulf was directly linked to income inequality. A double-digit trust gap between high-income and low-income respondents is present in nearly two-thirds of the countries, with the U.S. (31 points), France (29 points) and Brazil (26 points) exhibiting the largest disparities. There are also diminished future expectations among the mass population. In more than two-thirds of the nations surveyed, less than half of the respondents believe they will be better off in five years’ time.

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