Political Trust : An Empirical Perspective

958 Words Aug 24th, 2016 4 Pages
Political trust in an empirical perspective
Political trust as a concept is widely used and analysed in political sciences. However, there seems to be no clear consensus regarding the definition of political trust and its application in current empirical studies. As is most often the case, one has to consider the trade-off between a theoretical approach, where a substantiated definition of political trust is paramount, and a more pragmatic approach, which is primarily driven by the data at hand. In this study, I will mostly adhere to the pragmatic approach. The reasoning is that theoretical concepts and causal relationships quickly become very complex, which makes it increasingly difficult to construct an operationalisation where the complexity is captured within empirically measurable entities and characteristics.
1) Definitions of trust
When speaking about ‘trust’ as a concept in political sciences, there is an ongoing discussion about both its definition and its application. A large group of scholars has found increasing interest in the concept of trust because it is closely related to the well functioning of a political community and the public sphere (REFERENCE). This is especially relevant in the European Union, which has recently experienced both an economic crisis, an ‘immigration crisis’, and now a member state leaving the Union.
However, when defining and analysing the concept of political trust in empirical studies, scholars tend to take different approaches. In…
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