Political Trust in Latin America


In this article we study how trust in political institutions has evolved among Latin American countries. Contrary to previous studies that explain cross-sectional variation between countries, we examine how political trust has evolved within countries across time in the region. We base our empirical analysis in the Latinobarometer dataset, which contains relevant measures of political trust since 1996 onwards, and consider how both individual and contextual characteristics have possibly triggered (or not) changes in political trust among the population. Results from Bayesian ordinal probit multi-level models indicate that within-country variation in political trust is strongly influenced by changes in per capita income as well as by the ideological orientation of governments. More specifically, countries that become richer and that have governments that adopt increasingly left-wing policies raise the aggregate levels of trust for three of the four political institutions we consider, namely, Congress, Political parties and Government. This positive influence of left-wing changes is mostly concentrated among government supporters in the case of Congress and Government, while it seems to apply to the population at large when it comes to political parties.

In Sonja Zmerli & Tom W. G. {van der Meer}: Handbook on Political Trust 395–417 . Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-78254-510-1