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

Mitsch, Frieder, Lee, Neil and Ralph-Morrow, Elizabeth (2021) Faith no more? The divergence of political trust between urban and rural Europe. Political Geography, 89. ISSN 0962-6298

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102426

Abstract

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 EU citizens from the European Social Survey from 2008 to 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 politicians, 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 partly be explained by demographic differences between cities and the countryside, divergent economic experiences, differences in values, and perceptions that public services are less effective outside of urban areas, there is a residual ‘rural effect’ beyond this. We argue that the polarisation of urban-rural political trust has important implications for the functioning of European democracies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/political-ge...
Additional Information: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd
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: 18 May 2021 14:36
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:36
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/110497

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