English title: Legitimacy and Trust in European Countries: Macro-structural Explanation of Changes, 2002–2012

Author(s): Zbigniew Sawiński - Kazimierz M. Slomczynski - Irina Tomescu-Dubrow -

Language: English

Type: Book chapter

Year: 2015


In Chapter 4, Zbigniew Sawinski, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, and Irina Tomescu-Dubrow, focus on determinants of legitimacy measured in terms of country-level societal trust (social cohesion) and people’s personal trust at the individual level. Empirical analyses presented in this chapter support the hypothesis about cultural roots of legitimization. The hypothesis is supported that legitimacy – reflected in how individuals evaluate the economy, democracy and the government – is statistically determined by societal trust (cohesion). Living in countries with greater social cohesion leads to greater approval of systemic institutions than living in countries with less social cohesion. A complementary expectation that legitimacy is strongly determined by economic political development, measured by GDP per capita and the EIU Democracy Index, respectively, is also confirmed. The authors claim that trust on both the country and the individual level affects legitimacy. The clear policy lesson here is that any strategies to build a sense of systemic legitimacy need to focus on social cohesion and personal trust.

From page no: 79

To page no: 98

Anthology: Hopes and anxieties. Six waves of the European Social Survey

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