Senior Associate Researcher
Adress: Vancouver, Canada
Education and academic positions:
Academic interests: public opinion, immigration, trust, media, social movements, immigration, collective action, indigenous resistance.
Political Trust in the United States: The Roles of Race and Partisanship, 1958-2012
Political trust is widely held to reflect satisfaction with incumbent performance. This, however, is only considered true for White Americans. Black Americans do not respond in the same way in the short term because their trust is believed to reflect a profound discontent with the political system. In this paper I test this argument with the 1958-2012 American National Election Studies data which shows that the race gap in trust changes over time. I find that Black Americans and White Americans are equally likely to tie short-term performance to trust in government. However, the relationship between partisanship and political trust is very different for the two groups. Black Republicans are the most trusting of the race partisan groups even when all other factors are held constant. The trust of Democrats, both White and Black, switches over time with the trust of White Republicans. Finally, Black Democrats tend to be more trusting and have more favorable opinions of Democrat governments and Democrat leaders than White Democrats. Aggregate models of political trust that do not take these kinds of sub-group differences into account may be misleading. I conclude with a discussion of how repeated cross-sectional datasets offer a number of advantages for the study of change over time.
Political Trust and Asian Societies: Explaining Chinese Exceptionalism to the “Paradox of Distance” (with Carry Wu)
The majority of citizens of most countries tend to trust the people running the government and specific institutions but not government in the abstract, a phenomenon known as “the paradox of distance”. China provides an exception to this rule. Compared to citizens of other Asian societies, Chinese citizens have more trust in national political institutions than they do in more local institutions. Is this paradox explained by the fact that the key factors identified in the trust literature - surveillance, culture, and performance- operate differently in China? A preliminary analysis of the 2005-2008 Asia Barometer Survey data demonstrates that this is in fact the case. Political fear, cultural orientation, social participation and government performance show differential effects. This is likely because in the Chinese context trust has a different meaning more akin to “metaphysical faithfulness” than it does in other societies.
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