Close (Causally Connected) Cousins? Evidence on the Causal Relationship between Political Trust and Social Trust

Peter Thisted Dinesen*, Kim Mannemar Sønderskov, Jacob Sohlberg, Peter Esaiasson

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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Abstract

Trust in one’s fellow citizens and in politicians are both conducive to well-functioning government. Beyond their separate importance, it is a long-standing notion that generalized social trust and political trust are connected in a mutually reinforcing relationship that further undergird democratic govern-ance. While it is well-established that social trust and political trust are robustly positively associated at the individual level, there is much less compelling evidence regarding the causal nature of this rela-tionship. Previous analyses have been unable to adequately rule out confounding and correct for re-verse causality. This paper tackles these challenges through data and a research design close to ideally suited for addressing the causal status of the relationship. Using a 20-wave individual-level panel sur-vey from Sweden analyzed in a dynamic panel model, we find evidence for a relatively strong positive causal effect of political trust on social trust, but little evidence for the reverse relationship.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPublic Opinion Quarterly
Vol/bind86
Nummer3
Sider (fra-til)708-721
Antal sider14
ISSN0033-362X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2022

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