Trust and Citizen Participation in Community-based Monitoring System: An Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh

This study utilizes the unique setting of a public procurement project in Bangladesh to understand the relationship between trust and citizen engagement in social accountability mechanisms. In this model of civic engagement, in each project site, a citizen-monitoring group is formed to oversee the quality of implementation and report any irregularities to the authorities. The authors investigate whether the level of trust in the community affects the performance of their citizen-monitoring group and/or the interactions resulting from the participation in the monitoring task affect the level of trust of the monitoring group members. The article measure trust using both a simplified trust game and a survey. The finding is inconclusive to the question of whether the trust level in the community affects the performance of the citizen-monitoring group. While no such indication was found from the trust games, the data on generalized trust from the survey show a positive effect of trust on monitoring group activity. Stronger support was found for the hypothesis that participation in the monitoring group affects the level of trust. According to the findings, the effect has been negative in this case. An additional aspect of this study is carrying out a simplified design that allows them to collect behavioural data effectively from a population that lacks general and technological literacy and to implement the experiment remotely under extraordinary circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authors: Rabbani, Mehnaz; Rahman, Semab; Tasneem, Dina
Type: Journal article
Year: 2022