Tuesday Seminar – 18 May

Stability and Change in Political Trust: Evidence and implications from (at least) 3 panel studies

Daniel Devine (University of Oxford)
Viktor Valgardsson (Southampton University)

Theories of determinants of political trust make different assumptions about the stability or malleability of trust. For instance, at different ends of the spectrum, theories of policy evaluation suggest a rational ‘running tally’ process of updating whilst disposition theories assume a more stable attitude formed through genetics or early-life socialisation. In this paper, I present early work which aims to address this question directly by using long-run panel data from (at least) three countries: Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. By studying the development of political trust within the same individuals over a period of up to 19 years, we can identify to what extent political trust changes and in response to what events. Early results suggest that political trust in the long-term is at least as stable as other attitudes such as on immigration, redistribution and `moral regulation’, and life events such as unemployment, education and income change do not have large effects. Overall, the implications so far are that the base determinant of trust are generational or dispositional – whilst short-term factors likely play a role, trust returns to its equilibrium over the longer term.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 15 May 2021 at 21 h 55 min.