Corruption and economic inequality still explain country levels of generalized social trust

MARIA BÄCK

When examining country levels of generalized social trust, much of the explanation can be found in the degree of corruption and economic inequality in these countries. Low-quality governments and social systems appear to have massive negative effects on the welfare and health of modern societies, and at the same time, on levels of generalized social trust. Based on prior comparative studies, there are clear links between generalized social trust, on the one hand, and corruption and economic inequality on the other.

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From Declining Trust to Rising Distrust?

MIKKO POUTANEN

While trust in the media has decreased as a whole, Trump has also given the decline in trust in the media a distinctly politically partisan dimension. In other words, news outlets and audiences are even more strongly polarized, left to their own reinforced frames and narratives. This will make it harder for the citizenry to willingly receive multiple viewpoints without conflicting personal or reporting bias. The consequences of decreased trust and increasing distrust in the media radiates into the society more broadly through the erosion of civil discourse that could be commonly shared. This risks political paralysis and attempts to restore shared social trust.

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What ́s up with Poland and Hungary?

THOMAS KARV

There is only one year ahead of us before the EU citizens will again have the opportunity to elect their national representatives to the world’s only directly elected supranational political chamber, the European Parliament (EP). This will be the ninth EP-election, but post-Brexit the number of MEPs elected will drop from 751 to 705. The election takes place during May 23–26, 2019 and the outcome will affect the direction of the EU for the following five years.

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Young people and political trust

ANNA-RIIKKA AARNIO

Political interest – along with satisfaction with the way democracy works – is the most significant determinant of political trust of young adults in Finland. Many other usual determinants of political trust, such as internal or external political efficacy or satisfaction with the government, are not statistically significant when examining young people. Therefore, political trust of the youth seems to form less systematically than that of adults. Furthermore, over the last decade, political trust of the youth has declined more steeply than political trust of the older population.

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Trust in politicians across countries and over time

PETER SÖDERLUND

Political trust in established democracies is generally lower today than it was three or four decades ago. In the short or medium term, there are fluctuations, up and down, due to political and economic events. For example, political trust decreased in many countries in the wake of the most recent global economic crisis.

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Losing Trust

MIKKO POUTANEN

If policy issues are perceived as being simple enough to generate firm conclusions, disagreement itself becomes inexplicable—unless one impugns the motives of those with whom one disagrees. The problem becomes intensified when mainstream politicians and media both take up these narratives and leverage governmental distrust for partisan gain. Partisan gain may be short-lived, but the change in rhetoric and narrative can have long-term stacking effects on general levels of trust.

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Macron and the re-emergence of Europhiles!

THOMAS KARV

The sudden rise and electoral success of Emmanuel Macron and his political movement En Marche! has taken France, and especially Europe, by surprise. How could it be that the supposedly eurosceptic French electorate decided, with an overwhelmingly majority, to elect a president that has been described as both a “Europhile” and a “Euro-Federalist while simultaneously also granting his movement a majority in the parliament?

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