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Social Trends in American LifeFindings from the General Social Survey since 1972$
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Peter V. Marsden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133317

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133317.001.0001

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Trends in Confidence in Institutions, 1973–2006

Trends in Confidence in Institutions, 1973–2006

(p.177) 7 Trends in Confidence in Institutions, 1973–2006
Social Trends in American Life

Tom W. Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines trends in institutional confidence measured by the General Social Survey between 1973 and 2006. It begins by considering the construct of institutional confidence and describing the items and scales used to measure it. After presenting overall levels of confidence in 13 institutions during this period, it examines trends in general confidence scales and in individual institutions. Cohort analysis helps to illuminate these trends. The chapter next investigates correlates of institutional confidence, including experiences with specific institutions, party-in-power effects, education, misanthropy, opinionation, and a general demographic model. It briefly considers the relationship between institutional confidence and support for government programs and political matters. It closes by assessing the state and role of institutional confidence in contemporary society, and both general and event-driven models of trends in confidence.

Keywords:   institutional confidence, General Social Survey, public opinion, government programs, public trust

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