Putting a Face to Institutions: Professionals and Generalized Trust
The central role institutions play in the development of generalized trust is well established by previous research. Yet, the role of the professionals employed in these institutions has received considerably less attention. This paper explores whether confidence in welfare state professionals is important in maintaining a high level of generalized trust in the Norwegian context. It is hypothesized that professionals may influence people’s generalized trust both via their formal role as gatekeepers and in informal settings as part of social networks. The results are based on novel cross-sectional data, and indicate that confidence in welfare professionals is correlated with generalized trust, while the presence of welfare professionals in a social network is not significantly associated with generalized trust. The relationship between confidence in professionals and generalized trust indicates that alongside good institutions, good service provision is important in maintaining a high level of generalized trust.
Alecu, Andreea Ioana