Cover: Why People Don’t Trust Government, from Harvard University PressCover: Why People Don’t Trust Government in PAPERBACK

Why People Don’t Trust Government

Add to Cart

Product Details


$38.00 • £30.95 • €34.00

ISBN 9780674940574

Publication Date: 10/05/1997


352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

37 illustrations, 21 tables


Related Subjects

[Why People Don’t Trust Government], and its subject matter, are being taken seriously in the highest political circles on both sides of the Atlantic. Nye was among a group of American experts led by Hillary Clinton who recently came to Britain for a seminar on the book attended by, among others, Tony Blair, who left clutching a copy. Nye could hardly be better qualified for his subject. As well as studying government, he has practised it, serving for two years (1977–79) as undersecretary of state for security assistance, science and technology during the Carter administration and then in two posts under Clinton, first as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council and then (1994–95) at defence.—Huw Richards, The Times Higher Education Supplement

This is an important book about an important question: Why do Americans distrust their national government more today than they did three decades ago? …[This] volume is likely to be the benchmark book for future studies of dissatisfaction with government… This is the first of several publications that will report results of a multiyear research program, The Visions Project, being undertaken by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.—E. C. Dreyer, Choice

This book is the best single exploraton of a disturbing phenomenon in American life: a persistent, long-term decline in people’s confidence in government. By placing more than a dozen possible explanations under a microscope, the authors have not only sorted out the most likely causes of the decline, but have also formulated a strong agenda for future research. For those seeking to adapt our governmental institutions to a third industrial revolution, as we must, this book provides invaluable understandings.—David Gergen, Editor-at-Large, U.S. News and World Report

The ‘consent of the governed’ is a fine balance between informed skepticism about politicians, and citizen trust in the political system. Too much trust grants politicians too much power; too little disables the body politic. This timely book carefully diagnoses the causes and consequences of eroding trust in government and it stimulates and prepares readers to think seriously about the proper role of government and citizens in America.—Sam Nunn, U.S. Senator, Retired, Georgia

How many Harvard professors does it take to answer the nagging question of why trust in government has been declining for three decades? About a dozen, apparently! And it is surely quite an accomplishment. Bringing together essays in economics, sociology, history, and political science, Why People Don’t Trust Government should fascinate anyone who is concerned about the quality and future of American politics.—Alan K. Simpson, U.S. Senator, Retired, Wyoming

Awards & Accolades

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 1997
Underground Asia: Global Revolutionaries and the Assault on Empire, by Tim Harper, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, by Lindsay Chervinsky, from Harvard University Press

Why You Should Participate in an (Online) Book Club

Online book clubs can be a rewarding way to connect with readers, Lindsay Chervinsky discovered, when she was invited to join one to discuss her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. Since my book was published in April 2020, I’ve discovered that my work appeals to three main audiences. First, the general readers who are enthusiastic about history, attend virtual events, and tend to support local historic sites. Second, readers who are curious about our government institutions and the current political climate and are looking for answers about its origins. And third, history, social studies, and government teachers