Will you still trust me tomorrow? The causal effect of terrorism on social trust
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How do people respond to terrorist events? Exploiting the timing of the 2010 wave of the annual ‘Society Opinion Media’ survey in Sweden, we study the causal effect of the Stockholm bombings of 11 December 2010 on Swedish public opinion. Our main contribution is that we draw explicit attention to the link between terrorist events and individuals’ social trust. While we identify a strong effect on individuals’ concern over terrorism, any observed effects with respect to generalised and neighbourhood trust appear to be short-lived—suggesting that isolated terror events have only limited, transitory effects on established social attitudes.
KeywordsTerrorism Public opinion Trust Threat
We thank the editor, three anonymous referees, Gianmarco Daniele, Jon Fiva, Joshua Holm, Paul Huth and Zuzana Murdoch for helpful comments and suggestions. The first author gratefully acknowledges FWO Vlaanderen (Grant No. G.0022.12) for financial support. This article was conceived while the second author was visiting Norwegian Business School BI, and he is grateful for their hospitality, and to the E.On Ruhrgas Stipend programme of the Research Council of Norway for financial support.
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