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Association membership and generalised trust: Are connections between associations losing their value?


  • Geys, Benny


Research linking civic engagement to citizens' democratic values, generalized trust, cooperative norms, and so on often implicitly assumes such connections are stable over time. This article argues that, due to changes in the broader institutional environment, the engagement-values relation is likely to generally lack temporal stability. We investigate this empirically by analysing the engagement-trust relation using World Values Survey (WVS) data from the 1990 and 2000 waves. Overall, our results show that voluntary association memberships remain positively associated with generalised trust in both samples, but evidence that memberships in connected associations are better than in isolated ones appears, at best, scant in more recent years.

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  • Geys, Benny, 2012. "Association membership and generalised trust: Are connections between associations losing their value?," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-101, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbfff:spii2012101

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2004. "Social trust: Global pattern or nordic exceptionalism?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2004-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    3. James Moody & Douglas R. White, 2000. "Structural Cohesion and Embeddedness: A Hierarchical Conception of Social Groups," Working Papers 00-08-049, Santa Fe Institute.
    4. Hilde Coffé & Benny Geys, 2006. "Community Heterogeneity: A Burden for the Creation of Social Capital?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(s1), pages 1053-1072.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Almakaeva & Eduard Ponarin & Christian Welzel, 2014. "Human Development And Generalized Trust: Multilevel Evidence," HSE Working papers WP BRP 58/SOC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

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    voluntary associations; generalised trust; world values studies; social networks; longitudinal analysis;

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