Keywords: Trust in Government; Italian Political System; Youth; Lockdown.
The article analyses trust in government in Italy during the so-called phase 1 of
the COVID-19 emergency, employing a survey carried out by the University of
Cambridge in March 2020. The analysis uncovers that trust in government is
higher among the oldest and the youngest (voting-age) citizens, independently
from their political orientation. Contrary to the former’s more individualistic
and straightforward reasons, the young do not appear to be guided by self-interest.
They are more affected by the economic crisis and less fragile in terms of
the health consequences of the virus than the oldest cohorts. Our hypothesis is
that the young’s higher levels of trust are related to some sort of «cognitive mobilization
»: they learn for the first time what politics is, its influence on peoples’
lives, and how necessary it can be in the event of an emergency. In their case, it
is a first-time consciousness-raising experience.