Survey finds businesses most trusted

NEW YORK: Edelman's 2007 Trust Barometer reported a number of firsts, including US trust in business institutions reached its highest level of trustworthiness since the survey launched in 2001.

NEW YORK: Edelman's 2007 Trust Barometer reported a number of firsts, including US trust in business institutions reached its highest level of trustworthiness since the survey launched in 2001.

More people trust businesses (53%) than government entities (38%) in the US than ever before. Respondents were asked to rank issues on a sliding scale. Percentages refer to respondents who responded to the favorable options.

"The gap between trust in business and trust in government has never been larger," said Richard Edelman, CEO. "There's a perception that CEOs and companies are being held accountable. There's more confidence in business because there's more confidence in business analysis," as well as a healthy economy and rising stock market.

NGOs are still the most trusted institutions in the US (57%) and the EU (60%). In another first, the US public placed greater trust in the media (43%) than the government.

Despite reports of a faltering magazine industry, US citizens still trust articles in business magazines as the most as credible sources of information (55%), more than three times the value of blogs (16%). Blogs have only been included in the past two barometers.

Within business, technology is the most trusted sector globally.

"It's seen as an engine for development," said Edelman. "It doesn't have a big issue and it's truly a global business. People like how technology is improving their lives."

The study also found that US companies are experiencing a trust deficit in Europe. Four major US companies surveyed - ExxonMobil, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Citicorp - all scored less than 40%. However, Coca-Cola and McDonald's both scored higher than 60% in Brazil, China, and Japan. Sweden, Canada, and Germany were the most trusted headquarter countries.

This is the eighth year for the Edelman Trust Barometer. The survey was conducted by telephone across 11 countries in October and November 2006. Respondents were aged 35 to 64, college-educated, and fell within their nation's top 25% income level.

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