Program Co-leaders: Professor Terry Flew, Professor Patrik Wikström, Professor Melissa Bull, Associate Professor Nicolas Suzor.
Trust is one of the central components of modern societies. Societies with higher degrees of institutional and interpersonal trust (also referred to as social capital) have characteristically also flourished economically, whereas the breakdown of trust has been connected to political authoritarianism, civil war, and failed states. Modern economies are based not just upon a set of formal institutions (e.g. legal frameworks that ensure the rule of law, property rights and contract), but upon informal institutions that are embedded in a path-dependent manner in particular societies. Trust is one of those informal institutions.
The development of the digital economy is dependent upon robust relations of trust between users of digital products and services, companies providing digital products and services, and digital intermediaries that connect producers and consumers. This program is based around an interdisciplinary understanding of trust, drawing upon elements of social theory, communication and media studies, institutional and behavioural economics, applied ethics and legal theory. The program complements the more technical focus of the QUT Business School’s Chair in Digital Economy. It is proposed that the researchers will develop a collaborative research program with industry, government and NGO stakeholders around three sub-programs: (1) valuing trust, (2) measuring trust, and (3) rebuilding trust.