Understanding the effect of economic shocks on trust

Previous studies have found that negative income shocks are associated with increased distrust in institutions and support for populist parties. Scholars have studied the Great Recession, automation, and increases in trade competition. However, the mechanisms driving these effects are not yet clear.

This research line will produce several studies to understand this phenomenon better. For this purpose, we collect detailed individual-level data on perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes using online surveys. The surveys aim to trace the same individuals over time and will be conducted in multiple countries.

We will use experimental and quasi-experimental methodologies to study these effects, each providing us with the following advantages in terms of zooming in on different aspects.

Using online experiments, we aim to uncover the mental model of individuals that underlies processes of political distrust, i.e., the chain of steps linking the shock to the change in trust and political preferences.
We will also investigate the role of policies and government performance as a mediating factor between economic shocks and processes of distrust.

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