What is TiGRE about

The unprecedented Corona-crisis has revealed the importance of citizens’ trust in public authorities, to respect their recommendations and thus control the spread of the outbreak.

In addition to citizens’ trust in public authorities, trust relationships between actors of regulatory regimes are crucial for such crisis management, as exemplified by the recent funding suspension to the World Health Organization by Donald Trump over its coronavirus response.

Not only the Health sector but all regulatory regimes, which operate across different levels of governance for carrying out regulatory policies, require an optimal level of trust for their well-functioning and thus enhance the quality of democracy.

Our objectives: TiGRE in four questions

In TiGRE, we aim to investigate under which conditions regulatory regimes are trusted by studying the relationships between the involved actors (such as administrative bodies, politicians, courts, firms, business, consumer groups and citizens at large, see the "trust relationships triangle" figure above). Thus, we will provide a comprehensive view of trust dynamics, their drivers and their political and socio-economic effects (as depicted in the figure below). More specifically, we can summarize our research objectives by the four following questions.

  1. What are the drivers of trust relationships within regulatory regimes ?
    In order to identify such drivers, we will explore under which conditions regulatory regimes are trusted by analysing variables related to countries, regimes, and individuals, as well as the impact of practices at the organisation level (transparency, accountability and participation).

  2. What are the consequences of trust on the functioning of regulatory regimes ?
    We will explore the relation between trust dynamics and the extent of cooperation between stakeholders at different levels. In addition, we will analyse the effects of these processes on the functioning and evolution of regulatory governance in terms of regulatory consent, compliance and legitimacy.

  3. What about citizens’ trust in regulatory regimes ?
    We aim to deeply understand how citizens have trust in regulatory agencies, companies and service providers within specific regulatory regimes. To identify the drivers of such perceptions, we will investigate the effect of regulatory practices (regulatory instruments, enforcement styles such as degree of coerciveness) as well as variables related to countries, sectors, and individuals.

  4. What is the role of the media ?
    We will analyse how the media influence trust dynamics within regulatory regimes. We will also explore the impact of the different communication strategies used by regulatory agencies during and after incidents of regulatory breakdowns to face intense criticism and repair trust.

TiGRE analytical framework

In TiGRE, we have the ambition to explore trust relationships at different levels of governance such as regional, national and European and in three high value sectors: Food Safety, Finance and Communication & Data protection.
To achieve our goals, we will use a variety of methods, such as questionnaires for large-scale surveys, case studies, focus groups, experimental studies and media content analysis among others. We will target and be in regular contact with European stakeholders, representing a broad range of regulatory actors.

TiGRE impacts

To connect research with policy and practice, we will provide indicators to detect signals of decreasing trust as well as scenarios on consequences of decreasing trust. This will be the basis for recommendations to policy-makers and to stakeholders on how to handle trust crises and optimize trust relationships within regulatory regimes in order to achieve stable, sustainable and fair social relations in regulatory governance.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870722 (TiGRE).