Ideological Bases of Institutional Trust in Eastern and Western Europe and the Effect of Motivated Social Cognition

Márton Hadarics


Our study investigates the assumption that citizens expect the democratic institutional system to operate in accordance with values and norms that are deeply embedded in public thinking of their country. As individual-level trust towards the institutional system is built mainly on these norms and values, our results show that differences between Eastern and Western European public thinking lead to asymmetries regarding the bases of institutional trust. Specifically, degree of income inequalities and perceived quality of welfare services seem to be more important factors in the postsocialist region in comparison with Western Europe. Furthermore, in accordance with the approach of motivated social cognition, we could also confirm that those with a higher level of conventionality motivation lean on normative ideological elements to a greater extent when they are indicating their personal level of institutional trust.


institutional trust; income inequality; welfare services; motivated social cognition; conventionality motivation

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ISSN: 2193-7281
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