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Social damage of the crisis: 13 country reports

RE-InVEST investigated how vulnerable people in 13 countries experienced the crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. This crisis changed more than everyone thought, even in countries that resisted fairly well economically. Thirteen country studies show the impact of the shock waves in our societies, that overhauled the lives of vulnerable people. The full versions you find here.

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The impact of the recent economic crisis on institutional trust in European societies

Next to the qualitative research we also carried out a statistical analysis of the dynamic relationship between vulnerability, shifts in social policies and trust. This report answers questions such as: in which sections of the population has the trust in institutions declined most? Can different patterns between countries be observed, and can they be explained by differences in policy shifts and differences in resilience of civil society?

An executive summary of this report you find here

In this report, in the framework of Work Package 3 (WP3) of RE-InVEST, we investigate the impact of the recent economic crisis on institutional trust in European societies.

In our study, we are guided by four main research questions:

  1. How has public trust in political institutions evolved in European countries in the period before and after the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008?

  2. Can we observe different patterns of institutional trust between countries and can these patterns be explained by differences in policy shifts and differences in the resilience of society? 

  3. Are the observed trends in institutional trust driven by changes in economic conditions and vulnerability due to crisis?

  4. Does the crisis affect institutional trust across the entire spectrum of the population, or the crisis effects are instead contingent on the socio-economic position of an individual?

In order to answer these questions, we performed descriptive analyses of the evolution of institutional trust in six political institutions over time, using six waves of the European Social Survey (ESS) data. Following that, we conducted a multilevel analysis of trust in national parliaments and the European Parliament. Our findings suggests that the recent economic crisis had not only economic but also political and social costs to the European societies. In particular, as a consequence of the recent economic crisis, institutional trust in Southern European countries has fallen to dramatic levels.

Specifically, in Greece, Portugal and Spain, the effect of the economic crisis on public trust in political institutions is especially prominent. Moreover, institutional distrust tend to be prevalent among the disadvantaged groups in the population. Furthermore, European countries with more established welfare states tend to be more resilient to the negative effect of the economic crisis on public trust. The results of the analyses indicate the need to consider the impact of the economic crisis not only in reference to economic costs but also in reference to declining levels of political trust and social cohesion of European societies.