Institutional Trust in Times of Corona

  • Erik Snel Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Btissame El Farisi Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Godfried Engbersen Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • Andre Krouwel Free University (VU), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Keywords: socioeconomic status (SES), institutional trust, economic insecurity, discontent with corona policies, serial mediation


During the corona pandemic, governments of all countries appealed strongly to the trust of their populations by implementing drastic social and economic measures to prevent the spread of the virus. This study seeks to understand mechanisms that influence the level of institutional trust at the time of the corona pandemic. We are specifically interested in how three explanatory factors (socioeconomic status, experienced economic insecurity and dissatisfaction with the implemented corona policies) can, in mutual association, explain differences in institutional trust. This study is based on data from a large-scale panel survey on the social impact of COVID-19, carried out by Kieskompas research agency (N=22,696).  Using a serial mediation analysis, we show that SES has both a direct and indirect effect on the level of institutional trust. People with higher SES experience less economic insecurity and have less dissatisfaction with the corona policies and, partly as a result of this, stronger institutional trust. It is also true that economic insecurity increases dissatisfaction with the corona policies and, partly as a result of this, weakens the level of trust.


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Standardised path coefficients (rounded off to two decimals)