Does mutual trust influence the willingness of policy stakeholders to collaborate in policy implementation? While the public management literature has extensively discussed the theoretical link between trust and collaboration, the application of this relationship to citizen-government coproduction remains underexplored. To investigate this dynamic, we conducted a paired of survey experiments on U.S. citizens and municipal officials. We presented a scenario featuring a hypothetical city characterized by either high or low public trust in government. Participants from both citizen and official groups were exposed to the same experimental conditions and were asked to report their willingness to coproduce in disaster resilience planning, as well as to estimate the willingness of the other party to coproduce. Findings indicate that public trust increases citizens’ willingness to coproduce; however, its effect is not significant among officials. Furthermore, the impact of trust on citizens’ willingness to coproduce is mediated by their perceptions of officials’ willingness. Bootstrapped analyses suggest that while citizens tend to overestimate the effect of trust on officials’ willingness to coproduce, officials are likely to underestimate the willingness of citizens. This study presents a new paradigm to investigating the interdependent relationship between citizens and government in coproduction.
Figure 4: Misperceptions on Willingness to Coproduce in Different Conditions