Skip to main content

Generalized trust and political support: A cross-national investigation

Buy Article:

$44.95 plus tax (Refund Policy)

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.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Government, Box 514, Uppsala 75337, Sweden

Publication date: 01 December 2010

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more