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Does Higher Trust Mean Better Compliance? Covid-19 Evidence from Urban Bangladesh

Mohammad Riaz Uddin, Rubaiya Murshed and Md. Zabid Iqbal



The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many problems that were inherent in our societies, e.g., poverty, inequality, and food shortages, to name a few. The pandemic has also brought to the surface other problems, some of which are valid in the context of the coronavirus: public panic, difficulty in getting the public to comply with issued guidelines, and the struggle to keep information separate from rumours. In such situations of uncertainty, it is crucial to be able to provide guidance for the public to follow, and equally important that the public believes the communication. So, it matters who the public trusts as a source of information. This paper is based on the premise that public trust in information sources translates into public compliance with issued guidelines to make communication count. Thus, we ask whether there is any association between peoples’ most trusted information source, and most followed information source, with their compliance, which we measure through a compliance score that we calculate. Using a sample of respondents that is urban-representative of Bangladesh, this paper finds that people who mostly trust international media, academicians, political leaders, and the World Health Organization are more compliant with issued guidelines. In contrast, people who mostly follow the police as an information source are less compliant. Based on the findings, the paper suggests that the increased involvement of certain trusted information sources is better than other sources in designing and implementing effective communication strategies during a pandemic in Bangladesh.  


Date of Publication 

May 2023


Bangladesh, Communication, Compliance, Covid-19, Information Source, Trust

JEL Classification Code

I10, I18, I19, D83

Recommended Citation

Uddin, M. R., Murshed, R., & Iqbal, M. Z. (2021). Does Higher Trust Mean Better Compliance? Covid-19 Evidence from Urban Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Development Studies, 44(3/4), 103-134.

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