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What determines trust in international organizations? An empirical analysis for the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO


  • Hessami, Zohal


So far no existing study has analyzed what determines people’s trust in the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO even though – in the absence of democratic accountability – this is one of the few ways to assess the legitimacy of these institutions. This study is intended to fill this gap in the literature based on Eurobarometer survey data from the EU-15 countries. The estimation results suggest that individual characteristics (gender, international background, formal education level, personal income, ideological preferences, interest in politics, and exposure to media) as well as the extent of globalization influence trust in the three international organizations. The state of the economy only has a significant effect on trust in the WTO. Moreover, respondents’ attitudes towards globalization have a bearing on trust in all three international organizations. Survey items on individual knowledge and perceptions of the WTO allow us to test additional hypotheses that apply to this institution alone. We find that familiarity with the WTO fosters trust. Finally, beliefs that the EU is well-represented in the WTO, that the WTO has a good reputation and that it is a democratic and necessary institution increases repondents’ propensity to trust the WTO.

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  • Hessami, Zohal, 2011. "What determines trust in international organizations? An empirical analysis for the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO," MPRA Paper 34550, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34550

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hayo, Bernd & Neuenkirch, Edith, 2014. "The German public and its trust in the ECB: The role of knowledge and information search," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 286-303.
    2. Michael Breen & Robert Gillanders, 2015. "Political Trust, Corruption, and Ratings of the IMF and the World Bank," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 337-364, March.

    More about this item


    Institutional trust; International economic organizations; Globalization; International Monetary Fund; World Bank; World Trade Organization;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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