Yannis Theocharis, Jan W. van Deth
A Modern Tragedy? Institutional Causes and Democratic Consequences of the Greek Crisis

Representation, 2015: 51, Heft 1, S. 63-79
ISSN: 0034-4893 (print); 1749-4001 (online)

Economic and political developments in Greece have been at the forefront of the international mass media coverage of the European financial and economic crises. Contrary to fashionable interpretations of the malaise, our findings suggest that the main causes of the many ‘crises’ hitting the country are social and political, rather than economic or financial. Employing the ‘institutional theory of generalised trust', we examine the roots of the current crises in political corruption, confidence in institutions and interpersonal trust. Data show that, for nearly two decades, Greece has consistently ranked last in Europe on almost all indicators for trust, confidence and corruption. The analysis pinpoints civic pathogenies that require immediate action. We suggest a number of policy measures that provide a starting point for further developing more concrete public policy solutions on how citizens’ trust and Greek civil society can be strengthened in order to obtain lasting societal, political and economic improvements.