“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.
|General Population||Mass Population|
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.