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The impact of corruption on social trust

Sean Richey (2010)

Key facts

Journal/Publisher
American Politics Research
Type of publication
Journal article
Elements of social cohesion
Trust
Geographical focus
United States
Main thematic areas
Political institutions & governance

Summary

I test the impact of governmental corruption on generalized social trust. Based on prior research in comparative politics and criminology, I hypothesize that increasing governmental corruption leads to decreasing beliefs that others are trustworthy. To test my hypothesis, I combine aggregate state-level data on convictions for governmental corruption with American National Election Studies panel survey data with waves in 2000, 2002, and 2004. My findings show a clear impact of greater corruption on levels of generalized trust. I find that living in states with increased corruption lowers generalized trust, while controlling for other known determinants. This research expands our knowledge of how institutional actions influence generalized trust.

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