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MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Public Trust in Contemporary Europe: Trusting the Antitrust (PROTRUST)

Tildelt: kr 2,3 mill.






2024 - 2026


Large firms such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have been making worldwide headlines for abusing their market power and violating antitrust rules. Within the European Union (EU), the European Commission (EC) has been a regulatory powerhouse in competition policy with the capacity to counterbalance unfair dominance of large firms. Such antitrust cases tend to gain news coverage and lead to discussions in the public sphere. In other words, they become subject to ‘politicisation’. But does politicisation affect citizens’ trust in public authorities and large companies, and if so, how? PROTRUST (Public Trust in Contemporary Europe: Trusting the Antitrust) investigates the effect of politicisation of EU antitrust cases on citizens’ trust in the European Commission and in the firms involved. It does so through an innovative combination of (1) a claims-making analysis of media coverage of antitrust cases in selected countries and (2) survey experiments based on the identified media frames from the claims-making analysis. PROTRUST is hosted by ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, where it benefits from the expertise of Prof. Tobias Bach and other academics in the areas of trust, public administration, and EU studies. It also relies on the support of two secondment institutions, GOVTRUST Centre of Excellence, University of Antwerp, and Lund University, adding key expertise in the areas of political economy, transparency and technology. PROTRUST builds a bridge between politicisation and trust research, advances knowledge on politicisation in the field of competition policy, and provides a novel analysis of the impact of media frames in relation to competition and antitrust. Considering the dominance of large firms and the emerging challenges of democratic governance in the digital age, analysing the link between politicisation and citizens’ trust is a timely and pressing topic.


MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)