Explaining the High Political Trust in the Philippines: The Role of Citizens’ Subjective Health and Political Values

In: Philippine Political Science Journal
Ronald A. Pernia Assistant Professor, Political Science Program, College of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines Cebu Cebu City Philippines
PhD Candidate, Institute of Political Science, National Sun Yat-sen University Kaohsiung Taiwan

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What accounts for the uptick of political trust in the Philippines? This study theorizes that individual subjective health combined with the extent of democratic (and nondemocratic political attitude) explains political trust in the Philippines. It hypothesizes that healthier authoritarian citizens are more likely to express favorable views towards political institutions because these individuals possess conservative values who put, among others, a premium on maintenance of order and stability. Such political values are activated upon the arrival of strongmen. Using data from the 2019 World Values Survey, estimates strongly support such an argument. The novel operationalization of this study nuances the view of citizen attitudes on political trust in developing democracies. Overall, the main results not only add credence to the cultural origins of political trust, but it also illuminates on why Philippine political institutions remain trusted despite the botched pandemic response and Filipinos’ enduring support for leaders like Duterte.

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