The Dynamics of Trust in Institutions in Lithuania during 1998–2018: Long-term and Ad hoc Factors of Influence

  • Vladas Gaidys
Keywords: public opinion research, trust in institutions, long-term influences, ad hoc influences, political cycle


The Public Opinion Research Centre ‘Vilmorus’ has conducted 226 representative surveys on trust in institutions in the period of 1998–2018. Trust in the Parliament, Government, political parties, banks, healthcare system, education system, police, church and other institutions was investigated. The analysis of the dynamics of trust/ distrust allows us to reveal at least four factors influencing the results. Long-term factors are general positive (or negative) impacts of economic/social/political trends in the society. The growth of trust is typical for the police and defence systems in Lithuania. The church, education system and media decreased trust in this period. Other institutions do not have one direction of dynamics because of ad hoc events or political cycle influence. Ad hoc influences are negative, as a rule: bankruptcy of a bank, the economic crisis, a wrong behaviour of representatives of the institutions, etc. The following institutions were influenced by ad hoc events and lost 10 percent points of trust at least: banks, President, social insurance, church, police and army. The influence of a political cycle is noticeable for the Parliament, Government and President institutions before and after elections. Some seasonal monthly influences (the Easter period for church or the exams period for the education system, for example) are statistically significant but very small (socially insignificant). Different aspects of the dynamics of trust in the institutions need different methodological approach in the analysis of the empirical data.