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What Makes People Trust In Their Fellow Citizens?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter tests an integrated micro model of possible factors explaining why people trust others or not, analyzes the effects of as many variables representing different hypotheses as possible. It develops a concept to explain social trust that integrates individual-level and macro-level approaches, assessing the additional benefit of using a multilevel model compared to a micro-level model. The chapter summarizes the different schools of thought, approaches and hypotheses discussed in the literature to create an integrated individual-level model of potential determinants of generalized trust. Additionally, for every hypothesis, its operationalization in the European Social Survey (ESS) is described. A broad variety of empirical studies and results presented for the ESS data proves that citizens of former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe show less trust in their fellow citizens than those living in Western Europe.

Keywords:European Social Survey (ESS); individual-level model; micro-level model; multilevel model; social trust



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