Koreans have less trust in people, gov’t: Poll

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Koreans have less trust in people, gov’t: Poll

Koreans are found to have relatively lower trust levels toward people, the government and social institutions, according to data released yesterday by Statistics Korea.

The data is the result of a survey that was conducted in 2010, in which 1,500 people were polled, part of the more comprehensive Korea General Social Survey.

In terms of interpersonal trust, only two out of 10, or 22.3 percent of respondents, answered that they trust others, placing Korea 14th among 22 member countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The rest of the respondents said that they are either wary of others or distrust them.

Trust data was based on the question: “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?”

Korea’s figure is lower than OECD countries’ average of 32 percent.

Norway ranked No. 1, with 60 percent saying they trusted others, followed by Denmark and Sweden.

But prevalent caution was not just confined to interpersonal relationships. Many people expressed wariness toward the National Assembly and the central government.

Only 31 percent of people polled answered that the National Assembly is trustworthy. The trust level for the central government stood at 56 percent.

In regard to law-abiding attitudes, only 34.3 percent of respondents said they believe other people truly comply with the country’s rules and regulations.

The OECD noted that countries with high trust levels tended to have higher household income levels, stating on its website that “the relationship was strong” between the two.

It analyzed the relationship, saying that “trust may promote gainful economic activity, or trust may be a luxury afforded only in richer countries.”

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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