Department of Political Science

Institutional and social trust: Is there a causal relationship?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

In the literature on social trust, institutional trust is prominent explanations of why people trust the generalized other. However, while institutional trust is a plausible cause of social trust, it is also likely to be consequences of trust or a consequence of deep-rooted personality traits affecting both types of trust. Therefore, conventional analyses using cross-sectional data are ill-suited to determine whether institutional trust actually cause social trust. In contrast to previous analyses, this paper utilizes two Danish panel surveys containing measures of the two types of trust for the same individuals surveyed at multiple points in time over a long time-span (up to 18 years) to address the potentially endogenous and/or spurious relationship. Using individual fixed effects and cross-lagged panel models (i.e. models including lagged dependent and lagged independent variables as regressors), the results provide strong evidence of trust in state institutions exercising an impact on social trust whereas the evidence for a reverse relationship is mixed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year9 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2012
EventMicro‐Level Socialisation through Civic Engagement? Institutions, Associations and Trust - Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Bruxelles, Belgium
Duration: 13 Nov 201214 Jan 2013


ConferenceMicro‐Level Socialisation through Civic Engagement? Institutions, Associations and Trust
LocationVrije Universiteit Brussel

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ID: 52016952