Taylor & Francis Group

sorry, we can't preview this file

...but you can still download fdem_a_2257607_sm9579.docx
fdem_a_2257607_sm9579.docx (55.11 kB)

Political trust and democracy: the critical citizens thesis re-examined

Download (55.11 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-19, 01:02 authored by Andrew Dawson, Isabel L. Krakoff

This article empirically assesses competing perspectives of the relationship between democracy and political trust. We conduct multilevel analyses on a cross-national panel dataset of 82 countries for the period 1990–2020. The findings suggest that there is a strong, negative relationship between democracy and political trust that cannot easily be dismissed as an artifact of model misspecification or response bias. Moreover, we re-examine the critical citizens thesis by disaggregating political trust into trust in partisan and “non-partisan” institutions to test the claim that well-functioning democracies contain and channel distrust into the more partisan political institutions to keep distrust from generalizing to the entire political system. The results fail to find a statistically significant difference of the effect of democracy on trust between partisan and non-partisan institutions, suggesting that low political trust within democracies may be a more acute problem than much of the literature suggests.


This work was supported by the MITACS Research Training Award.