Measuring Personal Economic Hardship and Its Impact on Political Trust During the Great Recession

  • Raül TormosEmail author


The great recession has severely harmed the living conditions of many citizens in South European democracies. This article explores to what extent the deterioration of personal circumstances due to the economic crisis is related to the erosion of political trust. Previous accounts have provided scarce evidence of this sort of egotropic effects. Instead, they have underlined the role of sociotropic evaluations of the economic and political performance of institutions. However, these factors could be suspicious of endogeneity and third-variable bias. This article uses a survey fielded in the Spanish region of Catalonia that contains a novel battery of items to measure how the crisis has personally affected respondents. Latent class analysis is applied to that battery and propensity score matching is employed to estimate the causal effect of being personally affected by the crisis vis-à-vis not being affected. Results indicate that personal hardship reduces trust in institutions in turbulent economic times. Furthermore, the study of the Catalan circumstances sheds light on how attribution of blame works in a multilevel structure of governance during times of crisis. Personal economic hardship happens to decrease trust on national institutions and the EU but not on regional institutions, controlling for the ethno-national composition of the population of that region.


Political trust Economic crisis Egotropic economic considerations South of Europe Propensity score matching Latent class analysis Catalonia 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió - Generalitat de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

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