An effective democratic society depends on the confidence citizens place in their government. Payment of taxes, acceptance of legislative and judicial decisions, compliance with social service programs, and support of military objectives are but some examples of the need for public cooperation with state demands. At the same time, voters expect their officials to behave ethically and responsibly. To those seeking to understand—and to improve—this mutual responsiveness, Trust and Governance provides a wide-ranging inquiry into the role of trust in civic life. Trust and Governance asks several important questions: Is trust really essential to good governance, or are strong laws more important? What leads people either to trust or to distrust government, and what makes officials decide to be trustworthy? Can too much trust render the public vulnerable to government corruption, and if so what safeguards are necessary? In approaching these questions, the contributors draw upon an abundance of historical and current resources to offer a variety of perspectives on the role of trust in government. For some, trust between citizens and government is a rational compact based on a fair exchange of information and the public's ability to evaluate government performance. Levi and Daunton each examine how the establishment of clear goals and accountability procedures within government agencies facilitates greater public commitment, evidence that a strong government can itself be a source of trust. Conversely, Jennings and Peel offer two cases in which loss of citizen confidence resulted from the administration of seemingly unresponsive, punitive social service programs. Other contributors to Trust and Governance view trust as a social bonding, wherein the public's emotional investment in government becomes more important than their ability to measure its performance. The sense of being trusted by voters can itself be a powerful incentive for elected officials to behave ethically, as Blackburn, Brennan, and Pettit each demonstrate. Other authors explore how a sense of communal identity and shared values make citizens more likely to eschew their own self-interest and favor the government as a source of collective good. Underlying many of these essays is the assumption that regulatory institutions are necessary to protect citizens from the worst effects of misplaced trust. Trust and Governance offers evidence that the jurisdictional level at which people and government interact—be it federal, state, or local—is fundamental to whether trust is rationally or socially based. Although social trust is more prevalent at the local level, both forms of trust may be essential to a healthy society. Enriched by perspectives from political science, sociology, psychology, economics, history, and philosophy, Trust and Governance opens a new dialogue on the role of trust in the vital relationship between citizenry and government. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Series on Trust.
The integrity of tax systems as we know them are being challenged throughout the world. Tax avoidance schemes of various kinds are proving increasingly attractive and lucrative to wealthy individuals and large corporations. As governments fear the erosion of their tax base among those who are most able to contribute, the public is looking on, as one of its most public institutions attempts to re-invent itself through changing laws and administrative procedures. In this book, a number of experts develop the idea of responsive regulation in relation to taxation. They demonstrate how law in this area is undermining social norms and social norms are undermining law. A key factor in their analysis is the perception of justice. Explanations as to why the integrity of tax systems is under siege, and possible solutions, are examined.