Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Who trusts? The origins of social trust in seven nations


Author Info

  • Delhey, Jan
  • Newton, Kenneth


This paper identifies six main theories of the determinants of social trust, and tests them against survey data from seven nations, 1999-2001. Three of the six theories of trust fare rather poorly and three do better. First and foremost, social trust tends to be high among citizens who believe that there are few severe social conflicts and where the sense of public safety is high. Second, informal social networks are associated with trust. And third, those who are successful in life trust more, or are more inclined by their personal experience to do so. Individual theories seem to work best in societies with higher levels of trust, and societal ones in societies with lower levels of trust. This may have something to do with the fact that our two low trust societies happen to have experienced revolutionary change in the very recent past, so that societal events have overwhelmed individual circumstances. -- Woher kommt Vertrauen in die Mitmenschen? In diesem Arbeitspapier werden Umfragedaten aus sieben Ländern verwendet, um die Stichhaltigkeit verschiedener Theorien über die Bedingungen für soziales Vertrauen auf der Individualebene zu überprüfen. Nur drei der sechs Theorien erweisen sich als erklärungskräftig. Erstens zeigen jene Bürger großes Vertrauen, die die Gesellschaft als wenig konfliktbelastet und als sicher wahrnehmen. Zweitens gehen gute informelle Sozialkontakte mit Vertrauen Hand in Hand. Und drittens sind die im Leben Erfolgreichen vertrauensvoller als die Verlierer. Die Ergebnisse zeigen darüber hinaus, daß individuenbezogene Theorien offenbar in „high-trust“- Gesellschaften besser funktionieren, während gesellschaftsbezogene Theorien in „lowtrust“- Gesellschaften erklärungskräftiger sind. Ein Grund dafür könnte sein, daß die beiden im Sample vertretenen Gesellschaften mit niedrigen Vertrauenswerten postsozialistische Länder sind, so daß die mit dem Zusammenbruch des Staatssozialismus und der Transformation zu Demokratie und Marktwirtschaft verbundenen sozialen Umbrüche individuelle Einflüsse in den Schatten stellen.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting with number FS III 02-402.

as in new window
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbssr:fsiii02402

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Phone: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 0
Fax: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 684
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research



References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Cusack, Thomas R., 1997. "On the road to Weimar? The political economy of popular satisfaction with government and regime performance in Germany," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 97-303, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Delhey, Jan & Böhnke, Petra & Habich, Roland & Zapf, Wolfgang, 2001. "The Euromodule: a new instrument for comparative welfare research," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 01-401, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbssr:fsiii02402. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.