American Political Science Association edition:105 location:Toronto date:3-6 September 2009
Since the 1990s, many scholars have embraced the concept of generalized trust as a panacea for all positive features in society. Consequently, investigating what makes people more trusting has been an important strand in the literature so far. Next to the society and institution-centered approaches, scholars have acknowledged that trust in fact has a moral foundation. It is, however, quite striking that, except for optimism, other human values have not been linked with generalized trust. Based on the European Social Survey, I will disentangle the relation between human values and generalized trust. The main conclusions are first of all, that trust must be regarded as an attitude, not as a value. Yet, trust has a solid moral foundation that is largely explained by conservation and self-transcendence values. Additionally, human values have a differential impact on trust across the various European countries.