Project Details


Trust is a crucial ingredient for a number of aspects related to well-functioning societies (Nannestad & Svendsen, 2005) and high levels of trust has been described as an essential part of the Nordic welfare states’ recipe for success (Rothstein 2001). But how will increased migration from low-trust contexts impact on Nordic host societies? Will immigrants adapt to the Nordic levels of trust, or will trust levels formed in countries of origin persist in the new institutional context? Can state institutions, which tend to treat asylum seekers in particular with extreme distrust, generate institutional trust among refugees post settlement? And can the development of institutional trust among refugees through their interaction with state institutions also propel the development of generalized social trust? This project sets out to study how institutional trust develops over time among refugees in Norway and Denmark - two countries that despite overall similarities have gone separate ways regarding policies towards refugees. Our focus is on the role of the welfare state: how do its institutions,
policies and practices influence the level of trust that refugees develop towards host country institutions? By differentiating between the micro, meso and macro level, we advance an analytical framework that encompasses
not only institutional differences at the system and policy level, but also their street-level delivery. What difference does the quality and generosity of formal welfare service institutions make? How do interactions between refugees and street-level bureaucrats help build or break trust? How do personal encounters with streetlevel bureaucrats interact with macro-level issues such as citizenship rights and the perceived legitimacy of the political system? These research questions will be analysed through a combination of longitudinal survey- and
register data among refugees and the study of street-level encounters between refugees and bureaucrats.
Effective start/end date01/01/202130/12/2026

Collaborative partners

  • Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research (lead)