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The Role of Political Trust in Conditioning Perceptions of Corruption

Wroe, Andrew, Allen, Nicholas, Birch, Sarah (2013) The Role of Political Trust in Conditioning Perceptions of Corruption. European Political Science Review, 5 (2). pp. 175-195. ISSN 1755-7739. (doi:10.1017/S1755773912000094)


Political trust and corruption have both elicited considerable academic and popular commentary in recent years. Much attention has been focused on the extent to which corruption has contributed to citizens’ increasing distrust of their politicians. But little attention has been paid to the possibility that distrust may condition responses to alleged corruption, and no work has hitherto demonstrated the veracity of this relationship in a mature democracy. Drawing on data from the United Kingdom, this paper finds that less trusting individuals are consistently more censorious of politicians’ misbehaviour and more likely to perceive the presence of corruption than are their more trusting peers. The paper further demonstrates that people who are less trusting become relatively more critical (compared with the more trusting) as the generally perceived corruptness of a certain scenario declines. It also demonstrates how trust increases in importance as a predictor of ethical judgements when behaviour is generally reckoned to be less corrupt. Further analysis suggests that this effect is partly connected to uncertainty. Less obviously corrupt acts are associated with higher levels of uncertainty, which appears to open up a space for trust to play an even more significant role in shaping individual's judgements of politicians’ behaviour.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S1755773912000094
Subjects: H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Andrew Wroe
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 11:14 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 11:57 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Wroe, Andrew:
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