Political corruption has impact on social trust

Mar 02, 2010

Residents of states with more government corruption may not only lose trust in political officials, but also have less trust in the general public, according to a new study by Sean Richey, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University.

Richey studied arrests of government officials in 50 states combined with 2002 through 2004 survey data of the American National Election Studies panel, which produces data on voting, public opinion and political participation.

"Stories of political corruption are constantly in the media, and this research reveals that governmental corruption has large corrosive effects on civil society," Richey said. "I find that increases in corruption in the period before the survey was taken leads to decreases in belief that and ordinary citizens are trustworthy. It was the first empirical test of this concept."

Previous research notes that societies with more trust are more efficient and better working, with more desirable living conditions, such as equality and health, Richey said. Some researchers have also found that certain factors correlate with social trust, such as income equality and laws that permit widespread use of labor unions.

The findings show that people living in a state with more convictions for felony from the previous two year period had a negative effect on generalized trust. The study also shows that people in the middle-aged generation and people who volunteer are associated with an increase in trust, while having conservative ideology and media usage correlate with decreased levels of trust.

"There is further research needed, but this study may begin to help explain how institutional action influences trust. It suggests that people attribute the untrustworthy behavior of politicians to people generally," Richey said.

The study will be published in the March 2010 issue of the journal American Politics Research.

Explore further: Reasons for students pursuing STEM fields are varied, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Transparency in politics can lead to greater corruption

Oct 10, 2008

Why are some countries more prone to political corruption? Viviana Stechina from Uppsala University, Sweden, has investigated why corruption among the political elite was more extensive in Argentina than in Chile during ...

Trust me, I'm a journalist

Jan 22, 2009

Trust in the media promotes health. A study of people from 29 Asian countries, reported in the open access journal BMC Medicine, has shown that individuals with high levels of trust in the mass media tend to be healthier.

Study finds link between political corruption and FEMA money

Dec 11, 2008

Where natural disasters strike, political corruption is soon to follow, say the authors of a study in the Journal of Law and Economics. But it's not the wind and rain that turns good folks bad; it's the money that floods ...

Corruption is Expensive, But Who Pays the Bills?

Mar 25, 2008

One often must look no further than today’s headlines to find examples of personal failure, corporate financial woes and political corruption. But how does political integrity affect the bottom line? A University of Missouri ...

Recommended for you

Beyond human: Exploring transhumanism

22 hours ago

What do pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, Iron Man and flu vaccines all have in common? They are examples of an old idea that's been gaining in significance in the last several decades: transhumanism. The word ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AJW
Mar 02, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2010
Politicians are of and from the people.
Yes, but they are a subset with certain features. One of these features is the necessary condition that one has to be prepared to take part in muddy practices like "you get my voice if I get your voice".
People who don't want to compromise themselves never will go upstairs in politics.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.