Social Indicators Research

, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 847–858 | Cite as

Intercultural Experience as an Impediment of Trust: Examining the Impact of Intercultural Experience and Social Trust Culture on Institutional Trust in Government

  • Dejun Tony KongEmail author


Government is an important institution in every society, but public trust in government has been declining worldwide. Like social trust, institutional trust in government manifests in two forms—goodwill-based (based on intentions and purposes) and competence-based (based on competence and performance). Using archival data of the AsiaBarometer (2004), I found a cross-level interaction effect of intercultural experience and social trust culture on goodwill-based, but not competence-based, institutional trust in government. Intercultural experience was negatively related to goodwill-based institutional trust in government within regions of low social trust but not within regions of high social trust. Both types of institutional trust in government within regions of high social trust were lower than those within regions of low social trust. Furthermore, both types of institutional trust in government were positively related to socioeconomic, public, and personal life satisfaction. These findings shed light on the tension between institutional trust in government and social trust as well as a government’s dilemma posed by intercultural experience.


Institutional trust Social trust Government Intercultural experience Life satisfaction 



I wish to thank Editor-in-Chief Prof. Alex Michalos and reviewers of Social Indicators Research for their thoughtful comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jepson School of Leadership StudiesUniversity of RichmondRichmondUSA

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