Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

How procedural and economic performance shape political trust: Affective and cognitive foundations of the performance-trust nexus

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sebastian Popa



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023, The Author(s).In which ways and under what conditions do the procedural and economic performance of political systems matter for citizens’ political trust? While this question has been a recurring theme in research on political support, we still lack a clear understanding of the conditional nature of the performance-trust nexus. In this study, we focus on the affective and cognitive foundations of the performance-trust nexus, arguing that the impact of objective procedural and economic performance on political trust is conditioned by citizens’ political allegiances (i.e., status as electoral winner or loser) and political sophistication (i.e., political knowledge and political interest). Our empirical analysis using comparative survey data from two European high-quality surveys (European Election Study 2014 and European Social Survey 2002–2018) shows that procedural and economic performance feature particularly prominently in the trust calculus of politically more knowledgeable and interested citizens as well as electoral losers, while being less relevant for the political trust of less sophisticated citizens and electoral winners. Moreover, the analysis provides evidence that cognitive orientations are overall more important than affective ones in moderating the performance-trust nexus. These findings offer important implications concerning the nature and meaning of feelings of disenchantment and distrust in contemporary democracies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schnaudt C, Popa SA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Zeitschrift fur Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft

Year: 2023

Volume: 17

Pages: 31–57

Print publication date: 01/03/2023

Online publication date: 20/06/2023

Acceptance date: 24/05/2023

Date deposited: 06/07/2023

ISSN (print): 1865-2646

ISSN (electronic): 1865-2654

Publisher: Springer VS


DOI: 10.1007/s12286-023-00570-y


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Projekt DEAL