Political trust in a multilevel polity: patterns of differentiation among more and less politically sophisticated citizens

In a new article in the International Review of Administrative Sciences Dominika Proszowska, Giedo Jansen and Bas Denters explore patterns of citizens’ (non-)differentiation between the local, national and European Union governance levels with regard to political trust.

Abstract

Differentiation in political trust attitudes occurs when citizens distinguish between different political institutions in terms of their trustworthiness. This article explores patterns of citizens’ (non-)differentiation between the local, national and European Union governance levels with regard to political trust. With unique Dutch data, we find that trust evaluations of each pair of governments (local–national/national–European Union/local–European Union) follows a distinct pattern. This suggests that citizens: (1) form more than one political trust attitude; and (2) use different cognitive mechanisms (like cognitive proximity and subjective rationality) to make sense of the political complexities in multilevel governance systems. Although general patterns found at the population level were largely reproduced at the subgroup level, that is, low and high political sophistication groups produced similar patterns of (non-)differentiation, highly politically sophisticated citizens tended to differentiate more – they are more likely to evaluate each governance level ‘on its own merits’. Our results are especially relevant in an era of declining trust, where governments want to regain citizens’ trust but are very much in the dark about which government level (if any) is the main culprit.

Details

Dominika Proszowska, Giedo Jansen and Bas Denters (2021), 'Political trust in a multilevel polity: patterns of differentiation among more and less politically sophisticated citizens', International Review of Administrative Sciences, online 2 July 2021

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/00208523211022826 

Published Aug. 30, 2021 10:32 PM - Last modified Aug. 30, 2021 10:32 PM