UCL Uncovering Politics

The Origins of Social Trust

Episode Summary

This week we are looking at social trust. What is it? Why does it matter? And how can it be increased?

Episode Notes

We talk a lot about trust – or, more often, the lack of trust – in politics. Often we’re referring to people’s trust in politicians. But social trust – our trust in the people around us – matters too. 

The evidence from must countries is that social trust has been falling in recent decades. But the countries of Scandinavia have bucked that trend. Indeed, in Denmark, the survey evidence suggests that social trust has risen since 1979 by 30 percentage points.

So what’s going on? What factors shape social trust? What can policymakers do to promote social trust? And has Covid shifted any of the long-term trends?

Host Professor Alan Renwick is joined by Professor Peter Thisted Dinesen, Professor of Political Science in the Departments of Political Science of both UCL and the University of Copenhagen. 

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