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Who trusts? The origins of social trust in seven nations

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  • Delhey, Jan
  • Newton, Kenneth

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2002. "Who trusts? The origins of social trust in seven nations," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 02-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbssr:fsiii02402
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    Cited by:

    1. Gustavsson, Magnus & Jordahl, Henrik, 2008. "Inequality and trust in Sweden: Some inequalities are more harmful than others," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 348-365, February.
    2. Julie Moschion & Domenico Tabasso, 2014. "Trust of second-generation immigrants: intergenerational transmission or cultural assimilation?," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, December.
    3. Veselý, Arnošt, 2006. "Reproduction of Social Capital: How Much and What Type of Social Capital Is Transmitted from Parents to Children?," Ratio Working Papers 105, The Ratio Institute.
    4. Petra Böhnke, 2008. "Does Society Matter? Life Satisfaction in the Enlarged Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 87(2), pages 189-210, June.
    5. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "Does democracy foster trust?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 251-269, June.
    6. Sander Steijn & Bram Lancee, 2011. "GINI DP 20: Does Income Inequality Negatively Affect General Trust? Examining three potential problems with the inequality-trust hypothesis," GINI Discussion Papers 20, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    7. Gunther Tichy, 2003. "Die Risikogesellschaft – Ein vernachlässigtes Konzept in der europäischen Stagnationsdiskussion [The Risk Society - An under-researched concept in the European debate on stagnation ]," ITA manu:scripts 03_02, Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA).
    8. Le, Anh Tuan, 2010. "Change in Social Capital – a Case Study of Collective Rice Farming Practice in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam," MPRA Paper 25552, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Prokic-Breuer, Tijana, 2011. "The relative importance of social and cultural capital for educational performance: Eastern versus Western Europe," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship Demographic Development, Social Change, and Social Capital SP I 2011-403, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    10. Güth, Werner & Levati, M. Vittoria & Ploner, Matteo, 2008. "Social identity and trust--An experimental investigation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1293-1308, August.
    11. Pugno, Maurizio, 2009. "The Easterlin paradox and the decline of social capital: An integrated explanation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 590-600, August.
    12. Newton, Kenneth, 2005. "Support for democracy: Social capital, civil society and political performance," Discussion Papers, Research Group Civil Society, Citizenship and Political Mobilization in Europe SP IV 2005-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    13. Joseph Daniels & Marc von der Ruhr, 2005. "God and the Global Economy: Religion and Attitudes Toward Trade and Immigration in the United States," Working Papers and Research 0501, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
    14. Pamela Abbott & Claire Wallace & Roger Sapsford, 2011. "Surviving the Transformation: Social Quality in Central Asia and the Caucuses," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 199-223, April.
    15. Gustavsson, Magnus & Jordahl, Henrik, 2006. "Inequality and Trust: Some Inequalities are More Harmful than Others," Working Paper Series 2006:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    16. Yogo, Urbain Thierry, 2009. "Le Capital Social: Entre Evidences Théoriques et Balbutiemments Empiriques
      [Social Capital: Theoretical Evidence and empirical issues]
      ," MPRA Paper 19441, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Peter Dinesen, 2011. "A Note on the Measurement of Generalized Trust of Immigrants and Natives," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 169-177, August.
    18. Sturgis, Patrick & Patulny, Roger & Allum, Nick & Buscha, Franz, 2012. "Social connectedness and generalized trust: a longitudinal perspective," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-19, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    19. Gunther Tichy, 2005. "Die ,Neue Unsicherheit: als Ursache der europäischen Wachstumsschwäche," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(3), pages 385-407, August.

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