Paul C. Bauer, Markus Freitag
Measuring Trust

Eric M. Uslaner (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Social and Political Trust. 2018. Oxford: Oxford University Press

This article focuses on the measurement of trust. First, we start with a brief conceptualization of trust, contrasting it with the concept of generalized trust. Second, we survey developments in trust measurement since the 1960s. Third, we summarize and try to systematize a number of measurement debates that have taken place. Fourth, we outline how trust measurement may develop in the future, discuss how differently formulated survey questions may abate some of the debates within the field, and present empirical data that follow some of these directions. Essentially we argue that trust—as opposed to generalized trust—should be measured through reliance on a set of more specific questions that measure expectations across a series of different situations.