Is Trust in Media Decreasing? Evidence from the World Values Survey

33 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Anton Shirikov

Anton Shirikov

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Date Written: December 23, 2020


Scholars and observers are increasingly concerned that trust in mainstream media is decreasing, which could undermine the democratic political process and make citizens more vulnerable to manipulation. Various surveys have documented dwindling media trust in the U.S. and other democracies, but so far this research has not established whether this decline is a global trend. I suggest a new, more robust approach using data from the World Values Survey to establish worldwide trends in attitudes. The resulting analysis shows there has been some decline in trust in media since the early 1990s, but there is no evidence of a decline among stable democracies. Trust in media has been decreasing instead in democratizing countries and other states that have undergone substantial political changes.

Keywords: media trust, democracy, democratization

Suggested Citation

Shirikov, Anton, Is Trust in Media Decreasing? Evidence from the World Values Survey (December 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Anton Shirikov (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

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