Trust and the COVID-19 Crisis: Regulation and Compliance in Multi-level Governance (by GOVTRUST)

​In times of crisis and change, such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, trust is of paramount importance. Confronted by the emergence and spread of a new and deadly virus, governments across the globe are called to forge a crisis strategy to deal with the consequences for public health, the economy and society at large. The success of such crisis strategy depends on citizens’ acceptance of and compliance with crisis management policies. Therefore, citizen’s trust in these policies and the government(s) issuing them is crucial.

In this context, the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence organises its first (online) annual symposium on Friday 29 January 2021, 14:00 – 17:00 CET. The purpose of the first GOVTRUST Annual Symposium is to introduce the work of GOVTRUST and involve the broader community working in the field of trust, regulation and multi-level governance. The theme of the symposium is “Trust and the COVID-19 Crisis: Regulation and Compliance in Multi-level Governance”. During this symposium, members of the GOVTRUST consortium and guest speakers will present recent work on the topic of trust and the coronavirus crisis, identify key learning points, and raise some crucial questions and issues for discussion.

GOVTRUST is a unique collaboration between researchers from five disciplines (political science, communication science, law, behavioural economics and public administration) and formally recognised as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ by the University of Antwerp. The aim of GOVTRUST is to provide a substantial contribution to our knowledge on the dynamics, causes and effects of trust and distrust in such complex governance systems. Read more about GOVTRUST.

Time and place

  • Date and time: Friday 29 January 2021, 14:00 – 17:00 (CET)
  • Location: Online Zoom event

Target audience

  • The GOVTRUST consortium warmly welcomes both academics and practitioners with interests in trust, regulation and multi-level governance.


  • Register here
  • Registration is free but mandatory.
  • Registered participants will receive the Zoom link by e-mail before the start of the event.


14:00 – 14:10 | Welcome

14:10 – 14:30 | Introduction to the GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence

  • By prof. dr. Koen Verhoest (GOVTRUST – research group Politics & Public Governance)

14:30 – 15:00 | Keynote by prof. dr. Benjamin van Rooij

  • Benjamin van Rooij is Faculty Director of Research and Professor of Law and Society at the Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam. He is also a Global Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine. He studies and teaches about the interaction between law and behavior. His current research focuses on indiviudal differences in compliance, toxic corporate culture, and assumptions about behavioral change. His past work looked at compliance, regulatory law enforcement and access to justice in China in a comparative perspective. He is also co-editor of Regulation & Governance, and founding convener of ComplianceNet a global network of compliance scholars. Recently, he made some important contributions on compliance with corona measures.

15:00 – 15:45 | Panel 1: Trust, regulation and compliance

15:45 – 16:00 | Break

16:00 – 16:45 | Panel 2: Trust and multi-level governance

  • Prof. dr. Peter Bursens (GOVTRUST – research group Politics & Public Governance)
  • Dra. Dominika Proszowska (University of Twente, MSCA fellow PLATO ITN)
  • Discussant: Prof. dr. Francesco Palermo (Eurac Research, Institute for Comparative Federalism and University of Verona)

16:45 – 17:00 | Closing

  • By prof. dr. Wim Voermans (Leiden University, member of the GOVTRUST International Scientific Advisory Board)

* All times are in Central European Time (CET).