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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In this introductory chapter, I survey approaches to the study of social and political trust, including a focus on my own contributions. The issues I consider include: (1) what we mean by trust; (2) whether social and political trust are part of the same syndrome or rest on different foundations; (3) how we measure trust; (4) approaches to the study of trust, from analyzing surveys to conducting experiments; (5) social-psychological versus economic (rational choice) and biological explanations for trust; (6) the consequences of both social and political trust; (7) which groups have the highest/lowest levels of trust and how/where people live shapes their social trust; (8) how interpersonal trust leads to more cooperation in the international arena; and (9) how polarization has led to reduced trust and reshaped both social and political life in the West.

Keywords: trust, social trust, political trust, polarization, socialization

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