| 2023-2028

RegTrust - Intermediation and Trust in the Regulatory State: More Regulation, Less Trust?


Regulation is sometimes a manifestation of distrust, but on other times it is a manifestation of trust. When do trust and regulation compete, substitute for and mutually-support each other? How can we maximize the benefits of both? Is the proliferation of rules around us a manifestation of growing distrust or trust? Is the regulatory state necessarily a low-trust state? To answer these questions, RegTrust introduces intermediation as a governance mechanism and intermediaries as third parties in trust and regulatory interactions. Intermediaries certify products, report compliance, rank organizations, label products, monitor performance, screen behavior, whistle blow misbehavior, and audit organizations. The regulation literature treats them as regulatory actors; the trust literature, as trustees. Yet intermediaries are both trustees and regulatees, both subjects and objects of trust and regulation. Most importantly, they may determine successes and failures, winners and losers, of trust and regulation. At their best, intermediaries reinforce regulation and trust, and promote polycentric (pluralist) structures of governance. At their worst, they undermine trust in regulation, leading to vicious cycles of failure and re/centralization (monocentric governance). RegTrust examines under which conditions, why, how, and to what effects trust and regulation compete, substitute for, or mutually-support each other. We problematize the role of intermediaries, develop a three-actor (triadic) model of governance, and assess its institutional macro-political consequences. Going beyond the state of the art, this project sheds light on the multiple interactions of trust and regulation in policy and politics. It advances the theory of intermediation; advances the interaction of trust and regulation as a central element of the governance literature; And explores the conditions that may make a regulatory state into a high-trust state. (partner in HE project)


  • EU Horizon Europe ERC Advanced Grant (partner in project)

Project team

  • Coordinator: David Levi-Faur, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
  • Partners: 
    • Koen Verhoest, Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium)
    • Martino Maggetti, Universit√© de Lausanne (Switzerland)
    • Jacint Jordana, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI, Spain)