Eszter Vit: Welfare regimes and trust: a cross-country analysis
This paper investigates the relationship between welfare regimes and generalized and institutional trust for 18 countries using data from the European Social Survey in 2008 and 2014. The analysis is based on the assumption that institutions shape conventions in a given society, influencing actors’ understanding of the world. The study assumes that the institutional logic of the welfare regimes and the average trust level of people in a given society are interrelated.
In addition to the bivariate correlations, multivariate and multi-level models are also applied to examine the assumptions, taking other factors observed at the individual and country level into consideration. According to the results, based on bivariate and multilevel models with individual-level factors, differences between countries’ trust levels are significant and the countries belonging to the Social Democratic welfare regime are characterized by the highest level of trust, both in terms of generalized and institutional trust. However, with the inclusion of macro-level variables (real GDP per capita, income inequality, the share of foreign population and Protestants in society), the difference between countries is not significant concerning institutional trust, and it decreases concerning generalized trust. The positive relationship between generalized and institutional trust is significant even when controlling for other individual-level and country-level variables.
Keywords: trust, welfare regimes, institutions