Trust in institutions and human values in the European context: A comparison between the World Value Survey and the European Social Survey
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Based on Schwartz's (1992) theory of human values, we hypothesized that the level of trust in institutions should be related to the extent to which individuals cherish values linked to conservation vs. openness to change. We tested the stability of these relations across eleven European countries and between two versions of the Portrait Value Questionnaire (PVQ). Multilevel models were conducted on the World Values Survey (using the PVQ10) and the European Social Survey (using the PVQ21) data, selecting countries common to both surveys. Overall, the relations between trust in institutions and values were consistent across countries and surveys. As predicted, trust in institutions was anchored in a contrast between values stressing conservation vs. openness to change. However, noticeable deviations from the predicted pattern were also observed. These findings stress the need for further theoretical and methodological refinements to account for the complex interplay between value priorities and trust in institutions.