Social Indicators Research

, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 879–895 | Cite as

Measuring Trust in European Public Institutions



The problem of measuring the general level of trust in public institutions is addressed. A very general framework to compute an index of trust in public institutions is proposed and it is shown how to perform an uncertainty analysis of an index of trust to test its robustness. An application to data from the sixth round of the European Social Survey is presented. It is found that Scandinavian countries are the most trustful European countries in public institutions, whereas former communist countries as well as Iberian and Mediterranean ones are much less trustful. The governments of the least trustful countries in public institutions should be very careful in monitoring this issue and should think about introducing reforms to improve citizens’ trust. Improving trust in public institutions is central to improve social capital, participation in civic activities and law-abiding behavior and then governmental legitimacy.


Composite indicator Trust in public institutions Uncertainty analysis Monte Carlo methods 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CalabriaRendeItaly

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