Institut for Statskundskab

Danish Exceptionalism: Explaining the Unique Increase in Social Trust over the Past 30 Years

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning

Given the positive societal consequences of social trust and the exceptional high levels of trust found in the Nordic countries there is a growing interest in the background for Nordic trust exceptionalism. Reflecting the debate about the roots of trust, the question is whether this exceptionalism has been a permanent feature of these societies, i.e. an enduring cultural trait, or primarily been shaped by more contemporaneous experiential forces. This paper examines the roots of the present Nordic trust exceptionalism by means of analyzing the development of trust in Denmark over the last three decades. The analysis shows that trust in Denmark has increased remarkably from 1979 to 2009 thus documenting that the very high levels of trust found today are a relatively new phenomenon. This result contradicts the cultural perspective and instead vindicates the experiential perspective on trust. Subsequent analyses based on longitudinal data at the aggregate level as well as individual-level cross-sectional and panel data indicate that the increase in trust in Denmark can be attributed to generational replacement, increasing levels of education, improved quality of state institutions, and a concomitant increase in citizens’ trust in these institutions.
Antal sider35
StatusUdgivet - 2014
Begivenhed XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology - Yokohama, Japan
Varighed: 13 jul. 201419 jul. 2014


Konference XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology

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