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Trust in the Local Administration: A Comparative Study between Capitals and Non-Capital Cities in Europe


Often a distinction is made between interpersonal and institutional trust, as the former is defined in terms of encapsulated interests, that is the idea that somebody will take your interests into account. Scholars have argued that this cannot be applied to institutions and that generalized institutional trust is therefore not a meaningful concept. This article disputes this reasoning by distinguishing this kind of trust in the governance of capital cities from such trust in non-capital cities. It argues that it can be doubted especially for the local administration in capital cities that they predominantly have the interests of their residents in mind when making decisions. The resulting hypothesis that residents of capital cities have less trust in their local administration than residents of non-capital cities is tested and confirmed through a secondary analysis of Urban Audit data. The analysis shows a significant effect in the predicted direction, which remains strong when controlling for the satisfaction with public issues, the respective region, and poverty of the respondent. The conclusion is that citizens in municipalities do know whether or not local institutions have their interests in mind when making decisions, which makes institutional trust equally meaningful a concept as interpersonal trust.

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»The Long Line They Must Make in the Night«: Performative Realism in the Italian State’s Relations with Outsiders

excluded, John L. Scotson / Norbert Elias: The Established and the Outsiders, London 1965. power and violence were clearly displayed and encapsulated in a common narrative, whereby the clearly suffering masses were blamed for their own misfortune. As one Italian immigration lawyer stated, it was ›hallucinogenic‹. The spectacle Guy Debord: Society of the Spectacle, Detroit 1967. of immigrants suffering in lines documented at embassies and immigration centres around the world, Åkensson: »The Queue«; Heath Cabot: »The Governance of Things: Documenting Limbo in the

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