Social Indicators Research

, Volume 124, Issue 1, pp 21–41 | Cite as

Changes in Inequality and Generalized Trust in Europe

  • Javier OliveraEmail author


This paper analyses the determinants of trust in a pool of 34 European countries over the period 2002–2012. We find that income inequality is negatively related with generalized trust when we analyze the pooled data of individuals with multilevel models, confirming a well-established result in the analysis of cross-country differences in trust. However, we are unable to find the same significant relationship when we estimate fixed effects models with a panel dataset composed by countries. It is plausible that unobserved effects may account for the significant and negative relationship between economic inequality and trust at the cross-sectional level. In contrast, in the fixed effects models, we find negative and significant effects of ethnic and linguistic fractionalization, discrimination (general or based on migrant status) and crime rates on trust.


Generalized trust Income inequality Europe Social attitudes 

JEL Classification

D31 D63 Z13 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Research on Socio-Economic InequalityUniversity of LuxembourgWalferdangeLuxembourg

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