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Social Trust

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Introduction

In the past two decades, social trust has been explored through the lenses of economics, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and history. The primary questions asked of social trust include: what is its nature; what conditions motivate, sustain, and strengthen it; when is it (un)warranted; and what erodes and destroys it A strong body of literature is developing on these questions. What is less empirically understood is how to measure social trust (and its prevalence in various societies), how (and why) it is related to certain political systems, and the differences in social trust across nations.

Definition

An exact definition of social trust is elusive. There is, however, loose consensus surrounding the (rather vague) idea that it is the expectation that another (person, group of persons, organization, institution, government, and so on) will behave in a particular way; that is, A trusts B to do (or with respect to) X. Jordan Boslego (2005) writes that, “social trust...

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Verducci, S., Schröer, A. (2010). Social Trust. In: Anheier, H.K., Toepler, S. (eds) International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-93996-4_68

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