Truth Decay and Trust in Institutions

The shrinking role of facts and evidence-based analysis in American public life poses a threat to democracy, to policymaking, and to the very notion of civic discourse. RAND has launched an ambitious research project, Truth Decay, to define and study the problem with the ultimate goal of working toward innovative solutions.

The Pew Research Center is concerned about these same trends and is studying public attitudes related to these issues through its “Trust, Facts, and Democracy” project. In this Events @ RAND podcast, Pew's Carroll Doherty joins RAND’s Jennifer Kavanagh for a discussion about the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and declining trust in institutions.

Jennifer Kavanagh

Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; Associate Director of the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program in the RAND Arroyo Center

Carroll Doherty

Carroll Doherty

Director, Political Research, Pew Research Center

Moderator

Winfield A. Boerckel

Winfield A. Boerckel

Vice President, RAND Office of External Affairs

Learn More

  • Countering Truth Decay

    “Truth Decay,” the diminishing role of facts in public life, poses a threat to evidence-based policymaking and to American democracy. RAND is studying this phenomenon to learn more about its causes, consequences, and potential solutions.

    Jan 16, 2018

  • Declining Trust in Facts and Institutions Imposes Costs on Society

    “Truth Decay” is the diminishing reliance on facts and analysis in American public life. It has many damaging consequences: the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over U.S. policy.

    Jan 16, 2018

    Jennifer Kavanagh, Michael D. Rich

  • Truth Decay and Civil Discourse

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Jennifer Kavanagh addresses the connection between Truth Decay and the erosion of civil discourse, as well as Truth Decay's effects on policymaking and the future of democracy.

    May 24, 2018

  • Truth Decay and the Media

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of experts discusses the connection between the media and Truth Decay. They address the effects of changes in the information environment, including the rise of social media, the shift to a 24-hour news cycle, increasing partisanship of some news sources, algorithms and filters, and media literacy.

    May 8, 2018

  • How Truth Decay Happens

    “Truth Decay”—the shrinking role of facts and analysis in American public life—threatens democracy, policymaking, and civic discourse. RAND is studying this phenomenon to help understand what drives it and how to address it.

    May 16, 2018

  • Increasing Immunity to Truth Decay: One Parent's Story

    Americans have always held opposing opinions, but more and more we disagree about basic facts. This is a symptom of what RAND calls “Truth Decay,” and it's doing severe damage to our democracy. A parent and former antivaxxer describes her journey from opinion to truth.

    May 16, 2018