Universiteit Leiden

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Institutions for Conflict Resolution (COI)

Institutional trust

Trust in public institutions in the Tata Steel case and beyond

In 2021, interest groups and many hundreds of individuals jointly filed charges against Tata Steel IJmuiden. The charges focus on Article 173a of the Dutch Criminal Code, which criminalizes intentionally and unlawfully emitting a substance on or into the soil, air, or surface waters, thereby endangering public health or the life of another person (under 1) or endangering another person’s life and causing someone’s death (under 2). In 2022, the Public Prosecution Service announced a criminal investigation into the case.
The current research project focuses on trust in the public institutions that deal with Tata Steel among those who filed charges against the company. The central question is which factors foster (or harm) their trust. To gain insight into these issues, the research uses semi-structured in-depth interviews with some of the individuals who filed charges. In addition, a systematic literature review examines how trust in public institutions is conceptualized and operationalized in the academic literature, and which factors have been found to foster such trust. Together, these studies will enhance our scientific understanding of institutional trust and offer insights into areas of improvement for public institutions.

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