The Volatile Nature of Social Trust: The Case of Croatia and Slovenia

Andreas Pihl Kjærsgård, Anne Iversen Anhøj

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    The countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have to varying degrees been struggling in their transition to market economies and democracy. Social trust is often argued to be a crucial lubricant in solving collective action problems and thus building and maintaining well-functioning institutions. Therefore building and maintaining social trust seems crucial for the countries in CEE struggling with transition. Existing research on social trust is mainly conducted in a western context, and there is a clear need for research to focus on social trust in CEE - an endeavour which this article undertakes. The article conducts a comparative study of the development of social trust in Croatia and Slovenia. In spite these countries’ common Yugoslavian heritage they show a remarkably diversified development in social trust over a rather short timespan (1996-2007). The two cases thus provide good cases for examining dynamic or rather short term effects influencing social trust at the aggregated level, which in existing literature is assumed to be rather stable. The article synthesises arguments from existing theory on social trust and claims that the level of social trust could be heavily influenced by the development of public sentiment in a given context. The development of social trust in Croatia and Slovenia thus correlate with factors as the sense of trust and corruption among politicians, public officials and public institutions, the general economic and social development in the country as well as the general sense of optimism at the individual level.
    Translated title of the contributionSocial tillids volatile natur: Casen Kroatien og Slovenien
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherCentre for Comparative Welfare Studies, Institut for Økonomi, Politik og Forvaltning, Aalborg Universitet
    Number of pages42
    ISBN (Print)978‐87‐92174‐33‐8
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2013
    SeriesCCWS Working Paper

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