Economic Strain and Perceptions of Social Cohesion in Europe: Does Institutional Trust Matter?

21 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2014 Last revised: 15 Jul 2015

See all articles by Rhys Andrews

Rhys Andrews

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Sebastian Jilke

Rutgers University-Newark

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science; Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

The degree to which different social groups get along is a key indicator of the cohesiveness of a society. This study examines perceptions of social cohesion amongst Europeans and explains variations in those perceptions by considering the separate and combined effects of economic strain and institutional trust. Analyses were conducted with the 27 member countries of the EU based on the Eurobarometer 74.1 on poverty and social exclusion conducted in 2010. Results show that individuals living in households experiencing economic strain perceive social cohesion to be weaker than their less economically hard-pressed counterparts. By contrast, individuals trusting their political institutions perceived there to be higher levels of cohesion. Furthermore, institutional trust substantially moderates the negative relationship between economic strain and perceptions of cohesion. These results are robust to various model specifications. Moreover, extending the analysis revealed that this moderating effect held when considering social relations between the poor and rich and between different racial and ethnic groups. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

Keywords: Social cohesion; economic strain; institutional trust; Europe; quantitative analysis

JEL Classification: A13, D6

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Rhys and Jilke, Sebastian and Van de Walle, Steven, Economic Strain and Perceptions of Social Cohesion in Europe: Does Institutional Trust Matter? (2014). European Journal of Political Research, 53(3): 559-579, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2380312

Rhys Andrews (Contact Author)

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Road
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+44 (0)29 2087 6014 (Phone)
+44 (0)29 2087 6014 (Fax)

Sebastian Jilke

Rutgers University-Newark ( email )

111 Washington Street
Center for Urban and Public Service
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.sebastianjilke.net

Steven Van de Walle

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
79
rank
290,239
Abstract Views
946
PlumX Metrics