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SPP 310

Author: William Mishler and Richard Rose
Description: Cultural theories posit that trust in institutions is politically exogenous, reflecting early socialization into culturally determined values and interpersonal trust derived from long-term face-to-face relations. Institutional theories hold that trust in political institutions is politically endogenous, reflecting the performance of government and individuals' perceptions of that performance. A lifetime learning model integrates cultural and institutional theories. Hypotheses: 1) A culture of trust in other people creates trust in political institutions; 2) Institutional performance determines trust in political institutions; 3) Trust in political institutions reflects both government performance and interpersonal relations as filtered by individual perceptions linked to social position. Method: Regression analyses of individual trust in political institutions using aggregate indicators of political performance and individual-level data from ten post-Communist countries--Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The results show that perceptions of political performance substantially determine individuals' trust in political institutions. Interpersonal trust also influences political trust, but a lifetime learning model emphasizes the importance of contemporaneous evaluations as against early life socialization into cultural patterns.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland