Consumers' trust in experts, regulatory agencies, and corporate actors has received considerable media and political attention in Europe over the past couple of decades. Responses are expressed in sudden shifts in demand, public opinion polls, claims made by advocates and organizations, and via political channels. Within the American context, critique seems less often framed as a matter of consumer distrust. Case studies in countries like Russia and Vietnam, on the other hand, indicate widespread distrust in regulatory institutions and business corporations, affecting everyday practices but apparently not disturbing institutional actors enough to make them change. This illustrates how trust may have a variety of meanings, functions, and implications—for example, as belief in the accountability of public institutions, an element of market exchange, and a basis ...

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