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Social Capital And Political Trust

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the macro- and micro-level determinants of political trust, with a focus on the role of social capital. It compares the level and structure of political trust in 21 European societies in 2002/2003. Then, it gives a short summary of the concept of social capital and its basic components and derives the basic hypotheses on the antecedents of political trust entailed in the concept of social capital. In order to assess the genuine explanatory power of the latter concept, additional factors emphasized in previous research needs to be taken into consideration. The most important ones are governmental performance and institutional integration. The chapter also estimates a micro-level explanatory model, using only social capital variables. Turning to multi-level analyses, it analyzes whether, to what degree and due to which particular variables, the explanatory power of the micro model can be improved, by additionally taking into account contextual variables.

Keywords:European societies; political trust; social capital



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