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East, rivista internazionale di geopolitica
European Regional Master's Degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe
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Political Trust and Historical Legacy: The Effect of Varieties of Socialism

Written by Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl and Eszter Simon, this article appeared on the second issue of Vol. 24 of the journal East European Politics and Society in May 2010.
The article, unlike the vast existing literature on political trust, focuses on trust in postsocialist countries and, more specifically, on trust of young people rather than on trust of general populations. Studying young people is important in the context of establishing democracy and the survival of democracy. The authors examine the continuous effect of socialism and stipulate that the legacy of the type of socialist regime is a major determinant of political trust in Central and Eastern European and former Soviet Union countries. Utilizing individual-level data from an institutional survey, the authors find that distinguishing between different types of socialism is instrumental in explaining political trust. Results on the former Yugoslavia, however, suggest that the effects of socialism might be temporarily overshadowed in the short run by drastic post-socialist events such as warfare. The findings have implications for policies aimed at fostering
political trust in post-socialist countries and for discerning future patterns of political and social developments.


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