How does the reputation of regulatory agencies affect citizens’ trust in the regulated companies? A panel study in the food safety sector.
In reputation literature, there is much work on explaining public organizations’ reputation and the effect of such reputation on the organizations’ communicative and other behaviour, but there is a lack of studies regarding how the reputation of public organizations affect the broader outcomes in society. In this study we study how the reputation of regulatory agencies affects citizens’ trust in the regulated companies. In order to stimulate economic transactions and citizens’ consumption of goods and services produced by companies, it is crucial that citizens trust these companies that the latter delivers goods and services of a good quality which do not harm the citizens. However, theory stipulates regulation will only fosters citizens trust in the regulated companies when the citizens consider the involved regulatory agency is considered to be trustworthy in its capacities, behavior and performance, implying that the involved agency’s reputation is good, both in terms of its overall reputation as well as in terms of its different dimensions. However, little is known about (1) how changes in regulatory agencies’ reputation affects citizens’ trust in the regulated companies over time and (2) which reputational dimensions (performative, technical, moral or procedural reputation) matters most in this regard. This study answers these questions by pooling panel data from different three-monthly representative survey waves with Belgian citizens in 2020-2022, measuring their reputation of the Belgian Food Safety Agency and their trust in food companies, while allowing to control for socio demographic characteristics, the respondents’ general trust in other people and (changes in) their general trust in government. This study contributes to both literature on bureaucratic reputation and literature on trust in regulatory regimes.
Source (book)
Public Management Research Conference, 27-30 June 2023, Utrecht, The Netherlands
24 p.
Research group
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Creation 10.11.2023
Last edited 14.11.2023
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