English title: Conditional Trust: The Role of Individual- and System-Level Features for Trust and Confidence in Institutions

Author(s): Peter Kotzian -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2009


This paper analyzes the role of individual- and system-level factors and the interaction between both levels for citizen’s trust in the moral integrity of institutions and confidence in the capabilities of institutions. Starting from the culturalist framework, we argue that generalized trust is sometimes transferred to institutions, but this transfer is conditional on the institutions’ trustworthiness. This explanation is supplemented with performance based approaches to confidence in institutions, because the impact of institutional performance differs for citizens and might be conditional on their preferences and vulnerability to institutional failure. Because institutions are in charge of different tasks, the criteria for evaluating them can be expected to differ. Our analysis confirms the hypothesis that generalized trust is transferred only to trustworthy institutions, which explains why a relationship between social and institutional trust is found only in some countries. Different criteria are of varying relevance for different institutions, but there is no clear cut distinction between political and non-political institutions. The impact of an institution’s performance on institutional confidence is usually not conditional on citizen’s properties.

Conference name: ISPP 32nd Annual Scientific Meeting

Location: Dublin (Ireland)

Start date: Jul 14, 2009

Type: Paper