Working paper

Psychology of Trust: A Three Component Analytical Framework to Explain the Impact of Formal Institutions on Social Trust Formation

Year:

2015

Published in:

Munich Personal RePEc Archive
interpersonal trust
trust formation
formal institutions
social-cognitive psychology

Drawing on a social-cognitive theory of psychology, this study introduces a new conceptual framework to explain trust building by individuals and the role that formal rules and laws may play in this process. Trust is viewed as composed of cultural, communal, and contextual components, with the latter encompassing formal institutions. We demonstrate that the contextual component measured through three institutional indexes is the strongest predictor of social trust that may not only condition the importance of cultural and communal components for the process of trust formation, but also trigger changes in them. We also furnish evidence that this impact may vary across formal institutional types and suggest that the autonomy dimension of the institutional framework is particularly important for social trust building.

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