Isolating the Evaluative Nature of Political Trust: The Moderating Effect of Perceived Political Responsibilities on the Link between Policy Evaluation and Political Trust
For decades political trust has been understood – at least in part – as the outcome of citizens’ evaluation of political performance, particularly about the economy. This evaluative approach has found evidence in the strong relationship of political trust measures with citizens’ subjective evaluations of specific policy fields and outcomes, as well as the quite consistent relationship with objective macro-economic performance indicators. But while this is necessary, it is not sufficient support for the evaluative approach to political trust.
The missing link in the literature is the conditionality of the evaluation-support relationship on the perceptions of responsibility. We test this conditionality by isolating and simultaneously estimating between-respondents and within-respondents effects to decrease endogeneity problems. Indeed we empirically cannot rule out that most of the direct effects of evaluations on political trust are driven by endogeneity. Ultimately, though, we also find firm evidence for the evaluative approach, as the evaluation-support linkage is indeed conditional on perceptions of responsibility.