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News & Events

Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index reveals public’s slipping confidence in banks, government


  • 22 percent of Americans trust the New York Fed as a regulator;
  • 49 percent believe US financial system hurts economy

CHICAGO (June 12, 2015) Though there’s been a significant decrease in the number of Americans who are angry at the current economic situation in this country, dropping from 44 percent a year ago to 33 percent at the end of 2014, that decrease does not translate to a higher level of trust toward the U.S. government, which remains only at 18 percent, according to the latest data from the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index.

The overall index’s collective measure dropped one point to 26 percent, driven largely by the public’s reduced trust in banks, which fell to 35 percent from 38 percent.

The Financial Trust Index is a quarterly look at Americans’ trust in the nation’s financial system, measuring public opinion over three-month periods to track changes in attitude and to provide a better understanding of public trust. 

The co-authors, Paola Sapienza, of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Luigi Zingales of University of Chicago Booth School of Business, conducted the latest survey between June, 2014 and December, 2014.

"Americans continue to show skepticism toward the media, healthcare and the financial system,"said Sapienza, professor of finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "Nearly half of those surveyed believe that the U.S. financial system and healthcare system each do more harm than good, and the majority of respondents feel that the media is biased in reporting political and financial news."

Slightly more than half of Americans believe that news is presented in the interest of advertisers at 54 percent, while only 46 percent think news is written with the interest of readers/viewers in mind.

"On the positive side, fewer people fear becoming unemployed, dropping from 24 percent to 22 percent,"said Zingales, professor of finance and entrepreneurism at Chicago Booth. "And trust in the stock market increased slightly, with fewer people thinking it is overvalued, dropping from 53 to 49 percent. Of particular interest is that fewer Americans are angry at the current economic situation in the US, which dropped from 44 percent to 33 percent. At the peak of the financial crisis in March, 2009, more than 60 percent of respondents expressed anger at the current economy."

 ABOUT THE SURVEY: The survey was conducted for the Financial Trust Index by Social Science Research Solutions (www.ssrs.com), an independent research company, from December 18, 2013 to December 26, 2013, via telephone.  A total of 1,020 individuals who make household financial decisions were interviewed, with a margin of error for total respondents of +/-3.65 % at the 95% confidence level.

Contacts

Taryn Tawoda
External Relations
Kellogg School of Management
847.467.1492
taryn.tawoda@kellogg.northwestern.edu

Susan Guibert
Office of Media Relations
Booth School of Business
773.702.9232
Susan.Guibert@chicagobooth.edu