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Good governance and trust in public institutions creating welfare society in Lithuania

Project idea

After restoration of independence, Lithuania coherently tried to implement Western‐style political and economic reforms. Nevertheless, Lithuania still suffers from low trust in political institutions. This situation creates “vicious circle” because when people tend not to trust state institutions, government’s efficiency to implement reforms declines. This in turn creates even greater mistrust. Consequently, this project aims to unite three important concepts of social sciences – institutions, trust and good governance – and explain the welfare society development in Lithuania as well as to provide a policy brief for decision‐makers.

The project has three levels. Firstly, we would construct a theoretical model which substantiates the impact of public policy on social and political trust. For this task, we are going to: a) analyze recently popular general theories about the relation between the political institutions/leadership and social capital/tax morale; b) examine the middle‐range theories that elaborate the impact of political institutions and public policy on political trust in Central and Eastern Europe.

Secondly, at an empirical level, we would generate a regression analysis which explores correlation between interpersonal trust and trust in political institutions. Then we would use process‐tracing analysis to compare key public policies and their impact on political trust in Lithuania and Estonia. Forasmuch Estonia has one of the largest levels of trust in political institutions among CEE countries, paper enables a more detailed assessment to what extent this phenomenon is “track‐dependent” or what are the necessary political and institutional preconditions in order to ensure a proper trust in essential political institutions.
Last but not least, there is a prescriptive level of the project. We would provide recommendations how to fix public policies and ensure higher political trust in Lithuania.