Norway: Trust Among Elites in a Corporatist Democracy

in Comparative Sociology
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Abstract

While there have been many studies of ordinary citizens' institutional trust, there is very little knowledge about how national elites or leaders evaluate the trustworthiness of public institutions. This article contributes to filling this knowledge gap. Based on data from the Norwegian Power and Democracy Project's Leadership Study 2000, it is demonstrated that Norwegian top leaders have more trust in the main institutions of the society than citizens do in general. They rank, however, the various institutions in the same way. As found in studies of citizens' institutional trust, ideological orientation is an important cause of institutional trust among the top leaders. How they relate to the public/private cleavage as well as to the centre/periphery cleavage has significant impact upon their trust giving. The degree of trust in a particular institution is also positively affected by how much contact a top leader has with the leaders of this institution. The elites in Norway are involved in an extensive network of contacts and relations with leaders in other sectors and institutions. An indirect, and thus not always discernable effect of this network of relations seems to be that a higher degree of mutual trust is emerging among all the elites in the system.

Norway: Trust Among Elites in a Corporatist Democracy

in Comparative Sociology

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