Social Indicators Research

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 963–982 | Cite as

Does Trust Mean the Same for Migrants and Natives? Testing Measurement Models of Political Trust with Multi-group Confirmatory Factor Analysis



Political trust is seen as an important attribute in contemporary representative democracy. Political trust can cause social trust, foster associational life and make the efficient implementation of policy easier. Political trust can also be seen as a measure of political integration of migrants in Europe. However, if we want to measure this, we need to know for sure that we measure the same concept in all countries and among all cultural groups under research. This paper describes and tests four (existing) models of political trust. We find that there are multiple dimensions of political trust that can be modeled in a structural equation model. Furthermore, we research the cross-cultural equivalence of this measurement model in 22 European Union countries among natives, EU-migrants and non-EU migrants in these countries. Our results indicate that we can compare levels of political trust within countries pretty well, however, we should be careful comparing levels of political trust between EU countries since full scalar equivalence could not be reached. On a substantive note, we find quite some differences between the EU countries concerning the political trust natives have and we find diverging results concerning the migrants. In most countries we did not find a significant difference between migrants and natives. However, when the difference was significant, migrants showed higher levels of political trust in most instances.


Political trust Measurement Cross-cultural equivalence Confidence in government Migrants 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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