Global Institutions get Mixed Reviews in Addressing World's Economic Problems

United Nations seen as best at tackling economic issues - Ipsos-Reid survey

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 29, 2000 -- When it comes to dealing with the world's economic woes, it seems that global institutions haven't inspired a lot of confidence. In most of the 39 countries polled by Ipsos-Reid, a minority of citizens said they had a lot or a fair amount of confidence in the ability of global institutions to address macro economic issues. Confidence was highest in Western European countries while Latin Americans displayed the greatest degree of skepticism.

This finding emerges from the latest Ipsos-Reid World Poll, conducted with 20,000 adults in 39 countries this summer. This latest wave from its quarterly study of public opinion around the world examined people's views concerning key global players - particularly international organizations - as well as the expansion of global trade.

Six key global players were selected and respondents were asked to rate their level of confidence in each for addressing the economic problems of countries around the world. The six were: the International Monetary Fund (IMF); multinational companies; the United Nations (UN); the United States (U.S.); the World Bank; and, the World Trade Organization (WTO). As well, World Poll respondents were asked if the expansion of global trade, in general, helps or hurts their own country's economy.

With the exception of North America and Latin America, multinational corporations engendered the least amount of confidence compared to the other institutions asked about when it comes to improving the economic problems affecting countries around the world. The United Nations, on the other hand, was the institution that overall seemed to engender the most confidence. "Considering the experience Europeans have as members of the European Union , it is interesting to note that Western Europeans expressed a greater amount of confidence in global institutions compared to other regions of the world," said Ed Morawski, vice-president of global research for Ipsos-Reid in New York.

As a global player itself, the United States did not fare much worse or better compared to the other global institutions examined. Of course, the exception was in the United States where an overwhelming majority of Americans had a fair amount or a lot of confidence in their own country's abilities.

Other world institutions -- the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization -- received a strong vote of confidence from only about one-third of those polled. INTERNATIONAL VIEWS OF THE OVERALL EFFECT OF GLOBAL TRADE

  • Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of global respondents -- 63 percent -- said that the expansion of world trade, in general, helps their own country's economy, while one-in-five (20%) think global trade hurts their country.
  • People in Asia (74%), North America (71%) and Western Europe (69%) country groups were most bullish about the effects of global trade on their own country. In the Latin America and Eastern Europe country groups, a plurality think that global trade benefits their country, but the proportion of detractors rises to three-in-ten or more: 35 percent in Latin America and 28 percent in Eastern Europe said that the expansion of global trade hurts their country.
  • On the country level, large majorities in Japan (85%), Ireland (84%), urban Uzbekistan (81%) and urban China (80%) think that global trade helps their own country, as well as three-quarters or more in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland and the U.K.
  • A majority of World Poll respondents in 30 countries see global trade as beneficial to their own country. In contrast, people in Argentina were twice as likely to say that global trade hurts, rather than helps, their country.
  • In Czech Republic, three-in-ten respondents were bullish about global trade or were unable to provide a response. Uncertainty about the overall effect of global trade rose to one-in-five or more in Latvia, Lithuania and urban Russia as well.


These results emerged from an international public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid. This poll involved interviews among a total of 20,170 adults in 39 countries. Data collection was carried out from mid June to early July 2000.

The target sample size was 500 for each country, with the exception of a 1,000 sample size in the United States. In 31 of the 39 countries, the survey sample provided national representation; in the other eight countries - Brazil, Chile, China, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Uzbekistan - the survey samples are urban-only. In-person, door-to-door interviewing was used in these eight countries as well as in Argentina, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Philippines, Poland, Romania and Ukraine. Telephone interviewing was used in all other countries. The complete data set was statistically weighted so that the overall survey results reflect the proportional populations of the countries/urban areas in the global sample.

About Ipsos-Reid

Ipsos-Reid has been tracking public opinion and helping businesses around the world for more than 20 years and has become a leading provider of global public opinion and market research. With more than 1,300 staff in ten cities, Ipsos-Reid offers clients a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus and online research products and services. It is best known for its Express opinion polls, the World Monitor public affairs journal, and The Face of The Web, the most comprehensive study of global Internet usage and trends. It is a member of Paris-based Ipsos Group, ranked among the top ten research groups in the world. Visit

About Ipsos

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos ranks among the top ten research groups in the world, with member companies in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. Today, Ipsos serves some of the world's largest global corporations, as well as national clients on every continent, providing advertising, media, customer satisfaction, public opinion and market research. The company reported revenues of $240 million last year and is listed on the Nouveau Marchй of the Paris Stock Exchange.

For further information, please contact Ed Morawski Ipsos-Reid (212) 265-3200


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