The Dynamics of Trust in Politicians

Ola Listhaug

in Citizens and the State

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294733
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599699 | DOI:

Series: Beliefs in Government

 The Dynamics of Trust in Politicians

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The literature, both scholarly and non‐scholarly, abounds with allegations that mass public is losing confidence in politicians and in many aspects of the political system. This chapter investigates such concerns. It first reviews some of the arguments for the decline of trust, and discusses where trust should be placed within the hierarchy of political support. It then discusses general characteristics of the data used, emphasizing issues of dimensionality and comparability across country and over time. It then describes the main trends in support from the late 1960s and early 1970s, focusing on sociological as well as political explanations. It concludes that the empirical evidence provides no firm guidance as to which factors are crucial in explaining variations in trust levels.

Keywords: political trust; trust

Chapter.  12646 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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