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Business

OECD: Economic crisis shatters trust in governments, hits life satisfaction

The global economic crisis has lowered people’s satisfaction with life in the industrialized world, an OECD study has found. Faith in their governments’ ability to ease the strain has massively eroded too.

The recent global financial and economic crisis was taking a heavy human toll, sapping confidence in the governments of countries worst hit by the crisis, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday.

In its new report titled “How's Life? 2013”, the OECD gauged opinions of some 1,000 respondees from each of the organization's 34 member states, plus Russia and Brazil. Looking beyond purely financial parameters, the OECD focused on a catalogue of human issues, including housing, personal security, work-life balance and civic engagement to find out about people's general satisfaction with life.

In the crisis-hit eurozone, life satisfaction scores dropped by more than 20 percent in Greece over the five years ending in 2012, while Spain saw a fall of 12 percent and Italy a drop of 10 percent. Unsurprisingly, in Germany, which has emerged strengthened from the crisis, people were happier than in 2007 amid rising incomes and job security.

Moreover, Germans trust in their government surged past the OECD average, coming in at 42 percent in 2012. By contrast, only 40 percent of all of the respondents questioned, trusted their political leaders, the lowest level since 2006.

Noting that confidence in public institutions eroded in most of the industrialized countries, OECD Chief Statistician Martine Durand said people felt that their governments were no longer able to help them get out of the crisis.

Although the OECD refrained from establishing a ranking, the another statistician, Romina Boarini, said Australia, Canada and the United States, as well as most Scandinavian countries scored best in terms of public well-being.

People in Chile, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Portugal and Turkey were the least satisfied with their lives.

uhe/pfd (Reuters, AP, dpa, KNA)