Minister Marcel participates in the presentation of the results of the OECD Survey of Confidence in Public Institutions

Minister Marcel participates in the presentation of the results of the OECD Survey of Confidence in Public Institutions
Minister Marcel participates in the presentation of the results of the OECD Survey of Confidence in Public Institutions

The Minister of Finance, Mario Marcel, had an important participation in the presentation of the results of the 2023 Survey of Confidence in Public Institutions, carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The event, which began with the words of the Secretary-General of the OECD, Mathias Cormann, included, in addition to the Chilean Secretary of State, the participation of authorities from various countries, such as the Minister of Local and Regional Government of Finland, Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, and the Minister of Public Expenditure, Execution and Reform of the National Development Plan of Ireland, Paschal Donohoe; and was moderated by the head of the OECD Governance Indicators Division, Monica Brezzi.

During his presentation, Marcel highlighted that the results of the 2023 survey—in which Chile is participating for the first time—reveal that strengthening people’s participation in the different phases of the public policy cycle is key to increasing trust in institutions. He exemplified that our country has focused especially on involving users to improve the provision of services, using various mechanisms, such as the User Satisfaction Measurement (MESU), in force since 2015. This measurement provides feedback and identifies opportunities for improvement in institutions, covering 78 public entities in its 2024 version.

Another example, associated with the incorporation of citizens in the design phase of public policies, were the tax dialogues, which were held in all regions of the country in 2022. The minister also highlighted the importance of other branches of the State, such as the legislative branch, considering the participation of people in decision-making.

“In Chile, we have had a user satisfaction survey since 2015. It has been applied to all government agencies responsible for the delivery of direct services, and in the most recent survey, 78 institutions have participated, the results of which are public. After the delivery of these results, the experience has been addressed as part of a broader framework that allows us to better assess the performance of the different government agencies,” said Minister Marcel.

Regarding the levels and determinants of trust, the general results of the international survey reflect that in the OECD countries participating in the measurement in 2023, on average, 39% of the people surveyed declare to have high or moderate trust (between 6 and 10, on a scale of 0 to 10) in the national government. In comparison, in the case of Chile, the survey shows that 30% of people report having high or moderate trust in the national government. However, regarding trust in specific institutions or actors, those who present the highest levels of trust in Chile are the police, the electoral system and local governments.

Regarding the relationship between socioeconomic conditions, political attitudes and trust, the survey reveals that in OECD countries, the perception of the ability to participate in politics plays a greater role in people’s trust in the national government than socioeconomic characteristics. An example of this is that those who admit that the political system allows people to have an opinion on the work of the government have a higher level of trust in it than those who do not believe that the system allows them to have an opinion. Regarding socioeconomic characteristics, in our country it can be seen that those who have the highest levels of trust in the Government are people aged 30 to 49, followed by those over 50 and then by the group between 18 and 29 years old. Likewise, those with medium and low educational levels trust the government 12 percentage points less than those with a higher educational level.

“On the other hand, regarding the issue of manipulation of evidence and information, it is important to have confidence in the experts who handle such information, as they can have a stronger say regarding data, evidence and so on. For example, the experience with tax councils in many OECD countries, including Chile, is that it has been extremely useful in terms of leading a much broader discussion of tax issues, just to give an example closer to home. But, above all, in the face of the manipulation of evidence – fake news and so on – on our part, as politicians, I think we have to dedicate much more time and effort to explaining the information to people in order to educate them and take the time to make it easier to understand what we are trying to achieve through public policies,” explained Minister Marcel.

Chile stands out for its confidence in the government’s ability to address complex and wide-ranging public problems, such as climate change: 48% of people trust that the country will be able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10 years, versus the 42% average for OECD countries. In this regard, Minister Marcel highlighted the continuity of these policies, which have remained stable despite changes in government. “People have seen a way of acting by the government that has been consistent on these issues and that certainly generates confidence,” explained the Minister of Finance.

He also stressed that, in addition to good will, public policy must take into account different decision-makers from the design stage and achieve broad consensus.

Finally, in response to a question from the audience, Minister Marcel said that he is particularly concerned about the gap in trust based on educational level, since those with medium and low educational levels trust the government less than those with a higher educational level in Chile: “Governments should level the playing field. If we cannot generate more trust in people with lower educational levels, it means that we are not achieving one of the main responsibilities that we have as a government,” concluded the authority.

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