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Generalized Trust and political support in Europe: a comparative analysis

Edurne Bartolome
Universidad de Deusto
Edurne Bartolome
Universidad de Deusto
Open Panel

Abstract

The main goal of this proposal and the paper to be presented is what is the nature of social or generalized trust in Europe; what are the origins of that trust, levels of trust, extension of trust, and to what extent political support in Europe is being explained by generalized trust in European societies. Is trust explaining political support equally in all European societies? There is a great amount of literature (Uslaner 1999, Inglehart 1998, Sztompka 1996, Alesina and Ferrara 2002, Warren 1995, Levi and Braitewhite 1998, Hardin 1998, Gambetta et al. 2007) which claims that persistent levels of generalized trust are necessary for a good and healthy democracy. I´ll take the most relevant literature on trust and the available data (ESS, EVS, WVS) to deepen into the nature and levels of trust in Europe and analyze how what we call generalized trust is explaining political support, specially support for the democratic process in Europe. It is expected that trust will have a stronger explanatory capacity in older European democracies than in newer democracies. The suggested method to answer this question is the multilevel analysis using survey data, mainly from ESS and the latest wave of the European Values Study.