Quality of Government and Social Trust

Peter Thisted Dinesen, Kim Mannemar Sønderskov

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In this chapter we review the literature on the relationship between quality of government—conceptualized as quality of institutions at the output side of government—and generalized social trust (trust in unknown others). After reviewing the theoretical mechanisms—in both directions—proposed to link social trust and quality of government, we move to the empirical evidence. We report considerable evidence for a positive relationship between trust and various manifestations of quality of government at both the societal-level (macro) and the individual-level (micro). Most studies have limited causal leverage, but a few studies—primarily at the individual-level—employ designs better suited for causal statements. These studies suggest a positive effect of institutional quality on generalized social trust. We conclude the review by discussing path for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Quality of Government
EditorsMarcia Grimes, Monica Bauhr, Andreas Bågenholm, Bo Rothstein
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateJul 2021
ISBN (Print)9780198858218
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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