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Faith no more? The divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe

Mitsch, Frieder ORCID: 0000-0002-2511-2979, Lee, Neil ORCID: 0000-0002-4138-7163 and Morrow, Elizabeth (2021) Faith no more? The divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe. International Inequalities Institute Working Papers (64). International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Events such as Brexit and the Gilet Jaunes protests have highlighted the spatial nature of populism. In particular, there has been increasing political divergence between urban and rural areas, with rural areas apparently having lost faith in national governments. We investigate this divergence using data on over 125,000 from the European Social Survey from 2008-2018. We show that people in rural areas have lower political trust than urban or peri-urban residents, with this difference clear for six different forms of political institutions, including politicans, political parties, and national parliaments. There has been divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe since 2008, although this is primarily driven by Southern Europe. While these results can be primarily explained by demographic differences between cities and the countryside, divergent economic experiences, differences in values and perspectives that public services are less effective outside of urban areas, there is a residual 'rural effect' beyond this. We argue that the polarization of urban-rural political trust has important implications for the functioning of political democracies.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Government
International Inequalities Institute
Geography & Environment
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 14:48
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:22

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