Jamaica is not atypical in its high levels of corruption, nor is it surprising that there is a low degree
of public trusts in government – only 8 out of 100 people trust the government. One of the measures that can
be used as an approximation for the public’s distrust in government is the increasing decline in voting behaviour
in elections, and the increase in unconventional political participation over the last half a decade. Within the
context of the aforementioned issues, we w ill be examining the factors that account for this reality, as well as
the extent of trust (or distrust) in the government and in interpersonal relationships in Jamaica from an
econometric perspective. And so we will seek to build a model that explains the people’s trust in government.
This study utilizes prim ary observational data collected by the Centre of Leadership and Governance,
Department of Government, the University of the West Indies at Mona, Kingston, Jamaica between July and
August, 2006. The observational data was collected by way of a 166-item questionnaire. It was a stratified
nationally representative sample of some 1,338 Jam aicans from all 14 parishes. The observational data were
collected and stored using the Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows version 16.0.
Descriptive statistics were done to provide background information on the sample, and tests were done for
Cronbach alpha to examine the validity of the construct – i.e. w ellbeing and political participation. Then,
logistic regression was used to build a model. A goodness of fit statistics test was carried out on the model.
Of a sampled population of 1,338 respondents, 37% (approximately 4 out of 10 persons) reported that they trust
other persons compared to 8% (8 out of 100 people) who indicated that they trust the government. The
observational data were used to test the general hypothesis [trust in government is a function of some 14 factors,
and estimate the parameters of the final function. We found that of the 14 predisposed variables that were
identified by the literature, only 6 were statistically significant influencers. The 6 factors explain 27.3% of the
variance in trust in government. Those factors in regard to degree of importance in descending order are:
confidence in socio-political institutions, governance of the country, interpersonal trust, political participation,
administration of justice and sex of respondents. Governments in Jam aica have been suffering from a deficit
in trust, just like the nation’s budget And any building of trust in government must first begin by accepting the
factors that affect trust, and secondly by being aware that their actions (or inactions) coupled with that of their
related institutions affect public confidence, cooperation from the citizenry and civic engagement. Given the
limitations of this study, we recommend that a longitudinal study be conducted with the same set of variables,
as well as the others that were identified in the literature but were not used. And instead of using perceived
corruption as a proxy for corruption, we utilized the operational definition of Transparency International, as
corruption appears to be a primate variable in trust in government, but were unable to verify this with the use
of perceived corruption.