UNU-WIDER at ISA 2022 Annual Convention

A panel discussion on trust and governance in unstable democracies

UNU-WIDER at ISA 2022 Annual Convention

UNU-WIDER Senior Research Fellow Patricia Justino and Research Associate Rute Martins Caeiro join in a virtual panel discussion Trust and Governance in Unstable Democracies on 29 March 2022 14:00 - 15:30 (UTC-5) as part of the International Studies Association (ISA) 2022 Annual Convention, A Wider Discipline For A Smaller World

They present upcoming WIDER Working Papers 'Legacies of the Great Recession: Governance, COVID-19 and the Mediating Role of Trust' and 'Issues, Media, and Polarization: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Spain', which will be published as part of the project Inequality and governance in unstable democracies – the mediating role of trust

The panel explores how trust within and between social groups and towards institutions shapes governance outcomes in contexts where democratic structures may be unstable or under threat. Many parts of the world have recently experienced significant political challenges, ranging from the war in Syria to dramatic political changes in Europe and the USA. These global changes have affected the distribution of political power and economic resources across social groups and, in many cases, led to increased social, economic and political polarization.

However, the causal links between these phenomena remain the subject of considerable debate. We hypothesize that trust is central to understanding the effects of recent global changes in the distribution of power and resources on governance outcomes because the way people have confidence in others and beliefs about the legitimacy of governance institutions shape political and social behavior among different groups in society.

The aim of the papers in this panel is to test this hypothesis, thus contributing to our understanding of how trust emerges and evolves in countries that have experienced recent rises in inequality, polarization and social tensions as a result of recent global changes, and the consequences to governance outcomes and the sustainability of democracy.


Andrea Ruggeri, University of Oxford
Laia Balcells, Georgetown University
Francisco Villamil, University of Madrid
Michael L. Weintraub, University de los Andes
Patricia Justino, UNU-WIDER
Rute Martins Caeiro, UNU-WIDER