Trade-offs of government credibility institutions: market credibility vs. social credibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We offer a novel conceptualization of government credibility and a new framework for analysing the institutions that governments constitute to enhance their credibility. While the literature commonly pertains to government credibility institutions as an apolitical instrument of ‘good government,’ we argue that there are ‘varieties of government credibility’ and therefore political trade-offs between different credibility-enhancing institutions. To demonstrate this, we introduce ‘social credibility’ as an additional type of government credibility alongside the widely-discussed ‘market credibility.’ Through historical cases, we show that social credibility institutions played a crucial role in constructing social security and point at fundamental tensions between market credibility institutions and social credibility institutions. Therefore, instead of focusing on the supposedly apolitical question of how to enhance government credibility, research should concentrate on the very political issue of how prioritizing certain types of credibility affects others and their associated institutions.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Government credibility
  • institutional constraints
  • neoliberalism
  • social protection

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations


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