In the last decade considerable research in social sciences has focused on interpersonal trust, treating it as a remedy for most maladies modern democracies suffer from. Yet, if others act dishonestly, trust is turned into gullibility, thus mechanisms linking interpersonal trust with institutional success refer implicitly to honesty and civic morality. This paper investigates the roots of civic morality. It applies hierarchical models to data from 38 countries, and tests the individual, community and structural explanatory factors. The results of the analysis point to the relevance of an institutional dimension, both in the form of individuals’ perceptions as well as the quality of governance: confidence in political institutions and their objective quality are the strongest predictors of civic morality. At the same time, the findings show that the recently popular claims about the importance of social capital for citizens’ moral standards are largely unfounded.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 27, 2006
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