European Survey Research Association (ESRA) edition:5 location:Ljubljana date:15-19 July 2013
Within the literature, there is an ongoing debate about the dimensional structure of trust in political institutions. While some authors assume this is a blanket judgment covering all institutions equally, others claim this form of trust is experience-based and therefore multidimensional. Based on five waves of the European Social Survey in Belgium, and using multiple group confirmatory factor analysis, we demonstrate that trust in political institutions is onedimensional, although it has to be acknowledged that some distinction between representative political institutions and policy implementing institutions should be made. We can demonstrate, furthermore, sufficient measurement stability over time, so that – with some caution – trends over time can be constructed. We close with some observations about what our results mean both for the theoretical status of political trust and for its evolution over time.