Does Trust Associate with Political Regime?
Since trust correlates with economic development and in turn economic development associates with political regime, we conjecture that there may be a relationship between trust and political regime. Without looking for any casual inference, we investigate if trust aggregated on the country level correlates with the country’s political regime. Specifically, we are interested whether trust correlates positively with the level of democracy in cross-sectional observations. We analyse data on trust from 76 countries using the Global Preference Survey and investigate the correlations with five separate democracy indices (Polity2, Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy, Freedom House, MaxRange and Unified Democracy Score). We do not find any significant association, with or without taking into account other factors (e.g., regional location, economic development, geographic conditions, culture) as well. Trust does not correlate with cornerstones of democracy either, measured by five components of the EIU index. A robustness check using an alternative measure of trust from the World Values Survey reaches the same results. The present study supersedes the working paper version (Khayouti et al., 2020).