This book presents cutting-edge empirical research on political trust as a relational concept. From a European comparative perspective it addresses a broad range of contested issues. Can political trust be conceived as a one-dimensional concept and to what extent do international population surveys warrant the culturally equivalent measurement of political trust across European societies? Is there indeed an observable general trend of declining levels of political trust? What are the individual, societal and political prerequisites of political trust and how do they translate into trustful attitudes? Why do so many Eastern European citizens still distrust their political institutions and how does the implementation of welfare state policies both enhance and benefit from political trust? The comprehensive empirical evidence presented in this book by leading scholars provides valuable insights into the relational aspects of political trust and will certainly stimulate future research. This book features: * a state of the art European perspective on political trust; * an analysis of the most recent trends with regard to the development of political trust; * a comparison of traditional and emerging democracies in Europe; * the consequences of political trust on political stability and the welfare state; * a counterbalance of the gloomy American picture of declining political trust levels.
Sonja Zmerli is Researcher at the Institute of Social and Political Research at the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main and at the Institute of Political Science at the Technische Universit't Darmstadt. Her research interests focus on social capital, political trust, political participation, welfare state regimes and inequality. She has published in several edited volumes and international journals such as American Behavioral Scientist, European Political Science, European Political Science Review, and Public Opinion Quarterly. Marc Hooghe is Professor of Political Science at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and the University of Lille (France). Recently he has published on electoral reform in Belgium (West European Politics, 2011) and behavioural consequences of political trust (European Journal of Political Research, 2011).