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12-02-2020 | Issue 2/2020

Social Justice Research 2/2020

The Effect of Inequality on the Relation Between Socioeconomic Stratification and Political Trust in Europe

Journal:
Social Justice Research > Issue 2/2020
Authors:
Silke Goubin, Marc Hooghe
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11211-020-00350-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Abstract

While the relation between inequality and levels of political trust has been intensely investigated, there is no consensus yet on the mechanism behind this relation. In this paper, we use multilevel models to analyse the diverging impact of economic inequality on political trust for different social groups within European countries. We observe that changes in inequality are associated with lower levels of political trust across all social strata, as operationalised through income level, education and employment status. In more unequal societies, differences in political trust between social strata are also smaller. In equal countries, on the other hand, well-off citizens are clearly more trusting than their less well-off counterparts. Altogether, the study contributes to discussions about the determinants of political support and how citizens are connected to their political system in an era of rising inequality, by suggesting the presence of a social justice frame. The analyses are based on the European Social Survey (2002–2016).

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