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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article looks at social and political trust during democratization and in new democracies. First, it defines the dimensions and types of trust that are most relevant in the context of systemic change; second, it shows the consequences of (dis)trust for consolidation of new democracies; and third, it discusses the impact of authoritarian legacies and of the political and economic transformation on social and political trust. In particular, this article points to the trust-eroding effects of corruption, social and economic inequalities, and ethnic conflicts that are associated with most processes of democratization. Finally, using cross-national surveys, I reconstruct the trends of social and political trust in new democracies around the world. I conclude by pointing out that although trust is not necessary for countries to democratize, low levels of trust are likely to be linked to democratic backsliding.

Keywords: social trust, political trust, democratization, authoritarian, corruption, ethnic conflict, inequality, postcommunist

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