ass="ws31">.009 .078** .022* .013 .008 .002 .034**
11. MUSLIM .143** .085** .050** .033** .086** .091** .169** .003 .105**
12. RELIGIOSITY 1 .222** .120** .009 .035** .005 .181** .065** .176**
13. ETHN_PRIDE .222** 1 .069** .075** .052** .009 .319** .070** .117**
14. ENGLISH .120** .069** 1 .112** .058** .005 .071** .027* .043**
15. INT_EXP .009 .075** .112** 1 .002 .001 .064** .001 .026*
16. GLOB_WORRY .035** .052** .058** .002 1 .189** .059** .018 .015
17. ECON_WORRY .005 .009 .005 .001 .189** 1 .063** .018 .018
18. GDP_PER .181** .319** .071** .064** .059** .063** 1 .015 .046**
19. GEN_TRUST .065** .070** .027* .001 .018 .018 .015 1 .042**
20. TRANS_ID .176** .117** .043** .026* .015 .018 .046** .042** 1
H. H. KIM
Table 3.
Logistic coefficients from regressing TRUST_WB on selected independent and control variables.
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Estimate
S.E.
Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E.
AGE .004 .003 .004 .003 .005 .003 .005 .003
MALE .120* .047 .116* .048 .114* .048 .111* .049
MARRIED .141* .058 .157** .058 .145* .059 .161** .059
EDUC .056** .018 .051** .018 .060** .018 .055** .018
SES .056 .035 .051 .035 .049 .036 .043 .036
CATHOLIC .130 .130 .146 .131 .193 .131 .211 .132
PROTESTANT .167 .108 .181 .109 .152 .109 .165 .110
MUSLIM .110 .069 .124 .069 .090 .069 .103 .070
RELIGIOSITY .074*** .015 .071*** .015 .072*** .015 .068*** .015
ETHNIC_PRIDE .105** .035 .092** .035 .114** .036 .102** .036
ENGLISH .001 .030 .002 .030 .007 .030 .010 .030
INT_EXP .085 .093 .075 .094 .138 .095 .127 .096
GLOB_WORRY .215* .101 .205* .101 .204* .101 .196 .102
ECON_WORRY .001 .022 .005 .022 .006 .022 .010 .022
GDP_PER .295*** .018 .294*** .022 .297*** .299*** .010 .023
EAST_ASIA .084 .078 .127 .080 .184* .082 .227** .084
GEN_TRUST .236 .051*** .238*** .052
TRANS_ID .282*** .052 .285*** .052
INTERCEPT1 2.180*** 2.222*** 2.421*** 2.471***
INTERCEPT2 .118 .163 .420 .472*
INTERCEPT3 2.556*** 2.527*** 2.273*** 2.237***
2 LL 15758.57 15528.29 15147.47 14955.789
N 6984 6906 6693 6616
Note: *<.05; **<.01; ***<.001.
the effects of the independent and control variables on the re-
spondents’ trust in the World Bank. Model 1 is the baseline
model containing only the controls. Several of them reach the
level of significance. Among the individual-level attributes,
those who are male, married and have higher levels of educa-
tion are less likely to believe that the WB “operates in the best
interest of society”. On the other hand, people who are religious
and have a strong sense of ethnic pride are more likely to trust
the WB to operate in ways that benefit society. The respondents
who are “worried about globalization” tend to place greater
trust in the WB, as well and those who live in a country with a
higher per capita GDP feel the same way in terms of trusting
this global financial institution. Moving onto Model 2, which
incorporates one of the independent variables (GEN_TRUST),
it is found that generalized trust is positively and significantly
related to institutional trust, which conforms to previous re-
search findings on social capital and political trust, as discussed
above. Model 3 replaces the generalized trust variable with the
one that measures transnational identity. Here the result is also
significant, but the causation is in the opposition direction.
While holding constant individual and country-level control
variables, those who identify themselves as being “Asian” are
found to be less likely to place their trust in the WB as a bene-
ficial institution. The last model (Model 4) containing both
independent variables lends further empirical support.
Table 4 contains regression results based on the World Trade
Organization as the dependent variable. Model 1, as before, is
the baseline model, which consists of many control variables
that reach the level of significance. Older subjects and those
with higher educational attainment are more likely to distrust
the WTO. Men and those who are married are also more likely
to hold this view. In contrast, people who belong to a higher
socioeconomic status (according to subjective assessment) have
the opposite opinion. As for the religious category, Muslims are
less likely to put their faith in the WTO as a benevolent organi-
zation. Ethnic pride is positively associated with institutional
trust. Per capita GDP is negatively related to it. And the coeffi-
ient for the regional dummy variable suggests that those who c
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 277
H. H. KIM
Table 4.
Logistic coefficients from regressing TRUST_WTO on selected independent and control variables.
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E.
AGE .007** .003 .008** .003 .008** .003 .008** .003
MALE .121* .048 .113* .048 .123* .049 .117* .049
MARRIED .135* .059 .148* .059 .146* .060 .160** .060
EDUC .058** .018 .052** .018 .066*** .018 .060** .018
SES .079* .036 .072* .036 .073* .037 .068 .037
CATHOLIC .036 .133 .057 .134 .086 .135 .106 .135
PROTESTANT .167 .109 .175 .110 .156 .110 .164 .111
MUSLIM .146* .071 .161* .071 .133 .071 .147* .071
RELIGIOSITY .025 .015 .021 .015 .026 .015 .022 .015
ETHNIC_PRIDE .146*** .035 .137*** .036 .154*** .037 .146*** .037
ENGLISH .002 .030 .004 .030 .006* .031 .011 .031
INT_EXP .175 .094 .168 .094 .216 .096 .208* .097
GLOB_WORRY .082 .102 .068 .103 .065 .103 .054 .103
ECON_WORRY .017 .022 .017 .022 .017 .023 .018 .023
GDP_PER .213*** .018 .215*** .021 .218*** .022 .214*** .024
EAST_ASIA .166* .079 .122 .081 .081 .082 .043 .084
GEN_TRUST .243*** .051 .228*** .052
TRANS_ID .197*** .052 .193*** .053
INTERCEPT1 2.837*** 2.839*** 2.957*** 2.951***
INTERCEPT2 .799*** .798*** .998*** .986***
INTERCEPT3 1.774*** 1.789*** 1.592*** 1.607***
2 LL 14375.080 14619.580 13816.777 13645.011
N 6461 6391 6207 6178
Note: *<.05; **<.01; ***<.001.
live in East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) are more likely to
trust the WTO to operate in the best interest of their respective
society. According to Model 2, generalized trust is again sig-
nificantly and positively related to institutional trust. Consistent
with the earlier finding, Model 3 in Table 4 offers the same
result: transnational identity is negatively related to institutional
trust. The regression coefficients from Model 4 point in the
same consistent direction as well: those who are more likely to
trust others have a greater tendency to trust an international
organization to act in beneficial ways. On the other hand, the
subjects who view themselves as belonging to a transnational
group are less inclined to uphold this view.
The last set of results from estimating logistic regression
models, using institutional trust in MNCs as the dependent
variable, are reported in Table 5. A similar set of individual
attributes are found to be related to the outcome variable: age,
gender, marital status, and educational attainment all negatively
contribute to the level of institutional trust. Catholics and Mus-
lims, however, have a more positive opinion of MNCs, as is the
case with those who are more religious and take greater pride in
their ethnic affiliation. The measure of national economic de-
velopment, as reflected in the per capita GDP variable, is nega-
tively associated with individual-level trust in global institu-
tions. And people who live in East Asia are more likely to place
their trust in MNCs to operate in the best interests of their re-
spective society. The findings for the two main independent
variables in Table 5 are basically identical compared with those
from the previous analyses: while interpersonal generalized
trust has a positive effect on people’s institutional trust, the
latter is negatively associated with transnational identity.
Discussion and Conclusion
The intended purpose of this paper was to investigate the de-
terminants of institutional trust. In particular, the empirical
analysis was informed by two lines of inquiry-how generalized
trust and transnational identity reely affect the degree of spectiv
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
278
H. H. KIM
Table 5.
Logistic coefficients from regressing TRUST_MNC on selected independent and control variables.
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4
Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E. Estimate S.E.
AGE .007** .002 .007** .002 .007** .002 .007** .002
MALE .099* .046 .087 .046 .111* .047 .101* .047
MARRIED .199*** .056 .215*** .056 .214*** .057 .231*** .057
EDUC .066*** .017 .060** .017 .067*** .018 .061** .018
SES .065 .034 .053 .034 .057 .035 .045 .035
CATHOLIC .281* .129 .294* .130 .347** .130 .360** .131
PROTESTANT .003 .105 .007 .107 .011 .106 .002 .107
MUSLIM .771*** .068 .760*** .069 .794*** .069 .785*** .069
RELIGIOSITY .039** .014 .035* .014 .034* .015 .029* .015
ETHNIC_PRIDE .080* .034 .058 .034 .101** .035 .079* .035
ENGLISH .045 .029 .046 .029 .025 .029 .025 .030
INT_EXP .080 .090 .074 .091 .137 .092 .130 .093
GLOB_WORRY .176 .100 .177 .101 .161 .101 .165 .102
ECON_WORRY .021 .021 .023 .021 .019 .022 .021 .022
GDP_PER .121*** .017 .123*** .015 .119*** .012 .117*** .015
EAST_ASIA .403*** .076 .355*** .078 .261** .080 .217** .081
GEN_TRUST .218*** .049 .214*** .050
TRANS_ID .380*** .050 .382*** .051
INTERCEPT1 2.827*** 2.841*** 2.980*** 2.991***
INTERCEPT2 .883*** .900*** 1.158*** 1.173***
INTERCEPT3 1.528*** 1.517*** 1.272*** 1.264***
2 LL 14745.766 14580.142 14265.751 14093.476
N 6527 6456 6300 6210
Note: *<.05; **<.01; ***<.001.
individual confidence in the workings of global institutions,
namely the World Bank, the WTO, and multinational corpora-
tions. Quantitative results strongly support the claim that gen-
eralized trust in fact leads to higher levels of institutional trust.
There has been much theorizing about and looking into how
and to what extent generalized or social trust shapes individual
perception and evaluation of governmental, non-governmental,
and for-profit organizations. The role of trust has been viewed
as critical since it allows and facilitates many forms of social
exchange (Cook, 2001; Gambetta, 1998). According to Fuku-
yama (1995), it can even help explain the cross-national varia-
tion in creating material prosperity (see also Knack & Keefer,
2007). Whether it relates to solving the Hobbesian problem of
order (Gellner, 1998), reduce social complexities (Luhmann,
1980), or minimize the principal agent problem (Ensminger,
2001; Grief, 1989), trust has been shown to be of fundamental
importance. It is also invaluable since it provides the lubricant
necessary for the smooth functioning of political institutions.
That is, the propensity to trust others can aid effective democ-
ratic governance. It is with respect to this particular view that
the role (i.e., political function) of trust has been developed into
the social capital argument, as initially laid out by Putnam
(1993, 2000). As one author puts it succinctly, “trust is proba-
bly the main component of social capital, and social capital is a
necessary condition of social integration, economic efficiency
and democratic stability” (Newton, 2001: p. 202).
This study offers further empirical light on the causal rela-
tionship between social capital and institutional trust but does
so by extending the analysis to go beyond treating local politi-
cal organizations as the main outcome variables, which has
been the case with the bulk of the previous research. The quan-
titative results reported above adds a global dimension to the
inquiry by analyzing individual-level institutional trust of three
major organizational actors that embody economic globaliza-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 279
H. H. KIM
tion. In addition, the causal impact of a new independent vari-
able is examined, something that the extant literature does not
take into account. In the era of increasing economic and cul-
tural globalization, transnational identity has become one of the
characteristic traits of contemporary life. How people perceive
themselves has critical ramifications in terms of policy choices
and preferences. As Kunovich (2009) shows, for example, there
is a strong association between the content of national identity
and the types of domestic and foreign policies people prefer and
endorse, which can “affect both potential members of a nation
and a nation’s interactions with other countries” (591).
One of the contributions this paper makes is to examine the
extent to which people’s self-identification affects their subjec-
tive evaluation of a global financial institution, an international
regulatory agency, and multinational businesses. According to
the regression output, the coefficients for the transnational
identity variable are consistently robust and negative: those
who identify themselves as belonging to a group that lies be-
yond national borders are less likely to trust global institutions
to function in ways that could benefit their lives. This is a novel
finding with interesting implications. Clearly, globalization will
only intensify over time. As many scholars have observed, the
multifaceted process of globalization “is here to stay.” And
“how it will be governed is the [only] question” (Nye & Dona-
hue, 2000: p. 38). Naturally, then, globalization will usher in
ever more forcefully transnational identities. After all, their rise
is seen as an inevitable product of cultural globalization, as
Huntington’s (1993, 1996) clash of civilization argument and
related others have made all too apparent. If so, there will be a
growing tension between the increasing and perhaps inexorable
roles played by international organizations like the WB, the
WTO and MNCs as agents of globalization and people’s dis-
trust in them as they progressively take on an identity that tran-
scends national boundaries. It remains an empirical question as
to how and to what degree this tension will get in the way of
effective global governance, an issue that remains both urgent
and controversial (Brown et al., 2000).
The current study has some limitations, which point toward
the possible directions for future research. First of all, as Hardin
(2002) explains, much of the research on social capital and
institutional or political trust is really about the “trustworthi-
ness” of political institutions. As such, researchers should in-
clude in the analysis various performance-related satisfaction
measures. This would provide a more conservative and hence
more accurate test of whether or not generalized trust has any
causal influence on institutional trust. The dataset provided by
the Asian Barometer Survey, unfortunately, does not provide
information on institutional performance. Also problematic
may be the questionnaire designed to measure generalized trust.
As Hardin (2002) points out, what the standard survey question
seeks to measure “is not genuinely generalized trust. The re-
spondents are forced by the vagueness of the questions to give
vague answers, and it is a misdescription to label their re-
sponses as generalized trust” (61). This study tried to overcome
this limitation by creating the generalized trust variable using
another question in the survey (“Do you think that people gen-
erally try to be helpful or do you think that they mostly look out
for themselves?”). This too, however, is not without conceptual
and methodological problems, and future research should come
up with a variety of improved questions as possible alterna-
tives.
Another shortcoming has to do with the issue of causality.
Though this is not a major concern for the present study, it is
something that plagues many others that seek to establish a link
between social capital and various outcome variables related to
democracy and democratic governance. According to Paxton’s
(2002) findings, the relationship between social capital, which
she conceptualizes in terms of generalized trust and associa-
tional membership, and democracy is reciprocal. Using panel
data, she demonstrates that the causality in fact runs both ways.
Studies based on longitudinal data would minimize this thorny
issue and help produce more convincing results underscoring
the role of social capital in producing institutional trust, support
for democracy, and political activism as well as other important
outcomes. Also, there may be critical contextual factors, such
as the level of democratic development of a nation, that mediate
the effects of generalized trust on various political conse-
quences, which many previous studies have ignored (see Jamal
& Noorudin, 2010). Future attempts need to incorporate these
into the analytical framework for more nuanced arguments
concerning the “functions” of social capital.
The literature on generalized trust and social capital is indeed
huge and growing. They have given much legitimacy to the
political culture perspective and offered valuable insights into
the workings of various aspects of democracy. As is the case
with any other popular concept in the social sciences, however,
they suffer from the danger of losing heuristic value. Preventing
that from happening will require more careful hypothesizing
about the causality between independent and dependent vari-
ables and a more refined methodological approach geared to-
ward collecting higher quality data. This is a tall order but one
that promises a great deal of intellectual payoff.
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