Sociologický časopis
Czech sociological review


← Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 3/2013

Pat Lyons:
Impact of Salience on Differential Trust across Political Institutions in the Czech Republic [347]

Lyons, Pat. 2013. „Impact of Salience on Differential Trust across Political Institutions in the Czech Republic.“ Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 49 (3): 347-374

Abstract: This article explores why citizens express varying levels of trust across six institutions of political representation within the Czech Republic using a set of rival models. In addressing this question, this study argues that systematic differences in institutional trust are related to salience. Institutions with high visibility or salience to the public, i.e. government, lower chambre and president, will be trusted on the basis of their perceived political and economic performance. In contrast, institutions that are less salient to citizens are not evaluated on the basis of performance but on more diffuse criteria. Competing models of trust are divided into two groups. Top down explanations emphasise what institutions do; and hence focus on political and economic performance. Bottom up accounts of institutional trust refer to social mechanisms such as values, culture and knowledge. The empirical results presented in this study reveal that trust in salient political institutions is more strongly shaped by political performance. Otherwise, there is no systematic pattern to the determinants of trust in political institutions. These results suggest that citizen trust in political institutions emerges from a variety of top down and bottom up mechanisms, where salient institutions are different in that they are evaluated more on the basis of the political performance of office-holders.

Keywords: institutional trust, differential trust, levels of governance, salience, political sociology, Czech Republic

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