Trust in Government in Post-Communist Countries
Coffey, Eva 1979-
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This dissertation aims to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the determinants of trust in government in post-communist countries? (2) How does trust in government evolve over time? (3) How does trust in government affect voting behavior? In a cross-sectional study of 29 post-communist countries, this dissertation finds that trust in political parties was the key determinant in trust in government. On the aggregate level, when trust in political parties increases by 1 percent, trust in government increases by 1.6 percent on average, ceteris paribus. On the individual level, respondents who trust political parties have a 34.7 percent higher probability to trust government compared to those who do not trust political parties, on average, ceteris paribus. A longitudinal case study of the Czech Republic finds that trust in government does not have an increasing or decreasing trend over time; instead, it reverts to some underlying, or ‘natural’ level. Trust in government was also found to be a stationary process with high persistence, and a theory of persistence was proposed based on the degree of attention citizens pay to politics and the degree to which they determine changes in their individual welfare they receive from government performance. Finally, also using the case study of the Czech Republic, this dissertation finds that the effect of trust in government on intentions to vote for the incumbent party is consistently positive and ranges between 0.1 and 0.4: a unit increase in trust in government is associated with an increase for the incumbent by 0.1 to 0.4 percent.