Macroeconomic performance, political trust and the Great Recession : a multilevel analysis of the effects of within-country fluctuations in macroeconomic performance on political trust in 15 EU countries, 1999-2011
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
European journal of political research. - Amsterdam
, p. 177-197
University of Antwerp
Recent cross-national comparative studies have found no effect of countries' macroeconomic performances on trust in national political institutions, once political explanations (most notably corruption) are taken into account. Although political trust is not determined by the comparison of national economic performance to other countries, it is argued in this article that it is affected by comparisons to their own past performance. In a multilevel, fixed effects analysis of Eurobarometer data (21 waves in 15 European Union Member States between 1999 and 2011) the extent to which within-country variations in economic performance affect political trust longitudinally is tested. Three major conclusions are reached. First, within-country, longitudinal changes in performance (growth, deficits, unemployment and inflation) affect political trust. Second, the impact of macroeconomic performance is stronger among the lower educated. Third, even in times of economic duress, budgetary deficits tend to undermine political trust.