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Negative Experiences and Trust: A Causal Analysis of the Effects of Victimization on Generalized Trust

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Bauer Paul C. ,
Project SWISS HOUSEHOLD PANEL - 2014 - 2016
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Sociological Review
Page(s) 1
Title of proceedings European Sociological Review
DOI 10.1093/esr/jcu096


Generalized trust is praised by many researchers as the foundation of functioning social systems. An ongoing debate concerns the question whether and to what extent experiences impact individuals’ generalized trust, as measured with the standard trust survey question. So far, reliable empirical evidence regarding the causal effect of experiences on generalized trust is scarce. Studies either do not directly measure the quality of experiences or use designs that are prone to selection bias. In the present study, we investigate a unique panel data set from Switzerland that contains measures of trust and measures of negative experiences, i.e. victimization. We use change score analysis and ‘genetic matching’ to investigate the causal effect of victimization on generalized trust and find no substantially strong effect that is consistent across panel data waves.