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Generalized trust and political support: a cross-national investigation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2010 (English)In: Acta Politica, ISSN 0001-6810, Vol. 45, no 4, 423-443 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Citizen support for political institutions is a key component of any representative democracy. Two main approaches to explain political support can be found in the relevant literature: (i) Socio-cultural theories assume that political support is politically exogenous and emphasize factors such as social trust when explaining political support. (ii) Proponents of performance-based explanations, in contrast, see political support as primarily driven by politically endogenous factors, such as people's experiences of political authorities and institutions and evaluations of their performance. In this article I argue that the earlier research has missed an important source of interaction between these two sets of explanatory factors. More precisely, I hold that generalized or social trust plays a central but hitherto misunderstood role in explaining political support. The main hypothesis states that the effects on political support of performance-related factors are greater among low trusters compared to high trusters. I test this interaction hypothesis in a multilevel model, using cross-national survey data from 23 European countries. The results strongly confirm the stated hypothesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 45, no 4, 423-443 p.
Keyword [en]
political support, generalized trust, government institutions
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-135383DOI: 10.1057/ap.2010.3ISI: 000283992400002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-135383DiVA: diva2:374836
Available from: 2010-12-06 Created: 2010-12-06 Last updated: 2012-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Oskarsson, Sven
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