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Political Trust; a Matter of Personality Factors or Satisfaction with Government Performance? A study on the influence of personality traits, moods and satisfaction with government performance on political trust

Voortman, Henrieke (2009) Political Trust; a Matter of Personality Factors or Satisfaction with Government Performance? A study on the influence of personality traits, moods and satisfaction with government performance on political trust.

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Abstract:Over the past years the reported decline in political trust among Dutch citizens has received much attention from politicians, scientists, media etc. The main assumption among researchers nowadays is that the variations in the level of political trust are caused by (dis)satisfaction with performance of political institutions. Yet, this research hypothesizes that trust in politics is a result from personality traits or mood states that determine the level of trust someone will put in politics and its attitude towards performance of political institutions. The possible influence of satisfaction with government performance on political trust has, however, not been ignored in this study, as this variable is hypothesized to intermediate within the relationship between personality factors and political trust. In this thesis personality factors have been divided into personality traits and mood dimensions. Personality traits have been measured by using the Big-Five scale that has been constructed by Goldberg (1990), and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale by Watson e.a. (1988b) has been used to measure mood dimensions. Political trust has been measured on different levels, such as: trust in the Dutch government, trust in the Dutch parliament, trust in political parties, and trust in the democracy. Strikingly, no evidence has been found for a relation between the different personality factors and each level of political trust. Besides that, statistical testing delivered evidence that personality factors do not influence the level of satisfaction with government performance. The hypothesis that the level of satisfaction with government performance is influencing the level of political trust has, however, been affirmed by the results of the statistical tests. There has been found that satisfaction with government performance explains about roughly one-third of the variance in the level of political trust. This result suggests that current methods that are used to restore political trust, such as improving performance by benchmarking, are most likely to be effective.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/60251
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