Institutional trust and multilevel government in the European Union: Congruence or compensation?
Does trust in national institutions foster or hinder trust in the institutions of the European Union (EU)? There is no agreement in the literature on popular support for the EU about the direction of the relationship between trust in national and European institutions. Some scholars argue that both will be positively related, others have proposed the opposite hypothesis: low levels of trust in national institutions will lead citizens to higher levels of support for the EU. We argue that both hypotheses are true but operate at different levels: whereas more trusting citizens tend to be so in both the national and the European arenas, we also find that at the country level the relationship is negative: living in a country with highly trusted and well-performing institutions hinders trust in the European Parliament. We test our hypotheses using data from the European Social Survey and Hierarchical Linear Modeling.
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