We examined the relationship between Individualism/Collectivism and generalized social trust across 31 European nations participating in the European Social Survey. Using multi-level regression analyses, the current study provides the first empirical investigation of the effects of cultural norms of Individualism/Collectivism on generalized social trust while accounting for individuals' own cultural orientations within the same analysis. The results provide clear support for Yamagishi and Yamagishi (1994) emancipation theory of trust, showing a significant and positive relationship between Individualism/Collectivism and generalized social trust, over and above the effect of a country political history of communism and ethnic heterogeneity. Having controlled for individual effects of Individualism/Collectivism it is clear that the results of the current analysis cannot be reduced to an individual-level explanation, but must be interpreted within the context Of macrosocial processes. We conclude by discussing potential mechanisms that could explain why national individualism is more likely to foster trust among people than collectivism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology