The Public's Declining Trust in Government in Korea

Abstract

This study investigates to what extent and for what reasons people have been losing their trust in the government in Korea. The level of people's trust in government has been declining continuously and relatively more rapidly in the world since the country's democratic transition in the late 1980s. Democratization raised people's expectations of government so high that they have become easily dissatisfied with its ways of operation and policies. Government's occasional policy failures and public officials' malpractices are significant factors that lead to mistrust in the government. Harsh criticism toward the government by the media, including SNS, is another factor that leads to public mistrust in the government. Too much competition between the polarized parties under the new constitution, with its five-year one-term presidency, after the democratic transition has also negatively affected the peoples' trust in government as a whole. Such continuous decline of public trust may act as a burden in the national competitiveness in Korea.