Considering Indonesia’s high levels of systemic corruption, endless graft scandals and inefficient bureaucracy, what percentage of Indonesians do you think trust their government?
Whatever number you’re guessing, it’s probably, surprisingly, higher than that.
That’s according to survey data contained in the “Government at a Glance 2017” report recently published by the intergovernmental Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). According to a Gallup polling of all OECD countries conducted last year, when asked whether or not they had confidence in their national government, 80% of Indonesians said yes, a higher percentage than any other country in the survey.
The country with the second highest percentage of governmental trust in the poll is India with 73%. Germany did better than many western countries with 55%, far ahead of Britain (31%) the United States (30%) and France (28%).
Although the OECD report notes that the Gallup World Poll is the “most widely used survey instrument to measure trust in the government”, perhaps you still don’t believe that Indonesians could really be that trusting of the government?
Well, the results of the Gallup poll match up quite closely with those of the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey of 28 countries conducted by the global marketing firm measuring trust in governmental institutions. According to their survey, Indonesia scored 69 points, only beaten by India, in their trust index.
Perhaps you think Indonesians have just always been blindly trusting of their government? According to Gallup, this is not the case. Compared to their 2007 survey data, Indonesians in 2016 showed a 28 percentage point increase in government trust levels, the largest increase of any OECD country surveyed (many experienced sharp decreases in governmental trust over the same time period).
So, what is the explanation? Why are Indonesians exhibiting such high levels of trust in the government now? Well, you should really go ask a sociologist or economist to give you a credible theory, but in our amateur estimation, it’s probably because of President Joko Widodo. He had been in office for two years when both the Gallup and Edelman surveys were taken and while he has had a rocky start to his presidency, since then he has had generally high job approval ratings due in large part to steady economic growth and general improvement in government services.
Basically, our guess is that the Indonesian respondents who said they have confidence in the national government now were really giving their vote of confidence that the government is going to keep making things better for the foreseeable future.