New research alert: Trust repertoires and the reception of institutional responses to the COVID-19 crisis in Europe

INVENT member Marc Verboord from the Dutch INVENT team published a new article in the International Journal of Comparative Sociology on the role of institutional trust in current European societies.

Based on a secondary data analysis of Eurobarometer data (response rate 39.6%), it maps institutional trust repertoires and analyzes their consequences for a crisis that disturbed public life immensely in 2020 and 2021—the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to fight this. Methodologically, it applies a multilevel latent class analysis of 18 institutions. Taking inspiration from “cultural backlash” theory, the explanatory analyses incorporate socio-political values and geographical identifications. The results show that there are seven different trust repertoires in the European Union (EU) countries, ranging from 24 percent mostly trustful to 11 percent mostly distrustful. EU Countries can be clustered into four classes, each with specific repertoire distributions. Particularly satisfaction with one’s own life and world developments is associated with higher trust. Compliance with COVID-19 policies is most likely when citizens trust both national political institutions and media institutions; other institutions matter less. Country health expenditure has a limited effect on the reception of COVID-19 policies but does influence membership of trust repertoires.

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