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  1. 1. 2015 University of Manchester AGE AND GENERALIZED TRUST LEVEL IN THE BRITISH SOCIETY Abstract The aim of the research paper is to look through generalized trust level in the British society, to examine the possible correlation between “age” and “trust in strangers”. Moreover, paper is going to adopt qualitative method to find out possible reasons behind the diversification between young people and old people. Main finding is that, even if society has high overall generalized trust level, younger people tend to trust in strangers less than older people. And this relationship could be explained by the fact that, old people are more connected with the society, and they are more aware of what is going on around them.
  2. 2. ID: 95858920 1 Introduction Society holds its existence on deeply ingrained concepts which differs society from a group of people. One of them is trust which amplifies the social cohesion. According to Newton (2001), “the important part of social capital is trust and social capital is the exact reason for the social integration, economic efficiency and democratic stability”. Additionally, a number of previous research examined trust on the individual level of analyses. As Levi (1998) stated, trust is, in fact, a phenomenon when a person takes a risk in dealing with others even if it is contrary to self-interest. So, it can be concluded that, trust is the main concept born on the individual level and develops on social level. However, it would be better to introduce, firstly, 2 types of trust, namely, particularized trust and generalized trust. The first one is the particularized trust an individual has in families and friends while generalized trust is to believe the individuals that you do not recognize (Oliviera, p23).In accordance with the definition of generalized trust, it is an acceptable indicator of the public trust. Hence, the aim of this article is to investigate the level of generalized trust level in the British society. Some research was conducted to demonstrate the difference in generalized trust across the nations. However, the article is going to consider the variety in the generalized trust within the society and examine the possible reasons. In some research articles it has been suggested that age could have possible relation with generalized trust. For example, Punham represented in this research paper, age might be the essential factor which has an association with trust and showed that the young in America trust less in comparison with the old. The other research confirms the fact that, young people are, in general, less trusting than old people (Alesina, La Ferrara, 30). The paper will try to investigate whether the same situation is in British society or not. Thus, research is going to be conducted according to the hypothesis, “The younger generation in Britain are less likely to trust in strangers than the older generation”. Therefore, the objective of the present work paper is to investigate the difference in the trust level among the British society in the light of different age groups and try to come up with possible causes for it. Data and Method In this article, we aim to examine the generalized trust level of young people relative to old ones. Furthermore, we are going to examine the possible reasons why the young people trust in that certain level relative to the old. In order explore the research hypothesis further in depth the article uses two types of analyses, both quantitative and qualitative method. Firstly, 2010 British Election Study survey database was launched to scrutinize the relationship between age and generalized trust level. Survey was conducted among 3075 participants who were asked different question about the politics. However, we are
  3. 3. ID: 95858920 2 considering the variable “most people can be trusted”1 and “age” to study the association between them and test the hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, the “age” is our independent, while the “most people can be trusted” is dependent variable. First of all, we recorded the categories such as, “do not know”, “refused” and “not stated” as missing in the “most people can be trusted”. Moreover, to make the data more understandable we recoded both age and generalized trust into 3 groups. Age was grouped as young, middle aged and old2. On the other hand, initial 10 scale of the trust (from 0-no trust to 10-trust) reorganized like “can’t be trusted”, “middle trust”, “can be trusted”3. Second stage was qualitative analyses to gain insight into what is the reason. So we interviewed 20 years old, living in Manchester. In the interview, the interviewee was asked the questions about the trust, his opinion of the topic and the reasons behind his certain thoughts and approaches to the topic. The interviewee signed the consent form and accepted to be recorded. Then the interview was anonymized to keep interviewee’s identity secret. Result The study of current article is to determine the relationship between age and generalized trust in British society. Therefore, we have examined the survey data conducted from British people. First of all, we are going to have a look at general picture of generalized trust. As illustrated in the graph, British people have averagely high public trust. The median is “medium trust” whereas mode is “can be trusted”. Furthermore, approximately 50% of the individuals trust strangers in British society. Hence, the result is that, generalized trust level is significantly high. Some previous studies also highlighted the similar results. For instance, income equality and GDP per capita have positive correlation with generalized trust level (Zak and Knack, 2001). Evidently, Income inequality level of the Great Britain is less than average according to Ginni coefficient4 and GDP per capital5 level is significantly high. So, both factors let us justify our conclusion. The data above depict the level of generalized trust in the British society, however to address the research hypothesis, we need to investigate which factors may lead the variety in the trust level in the society. Therefore, the generalized trust level are going to be examined according to different age group to see whether and to what extend age has a relationship with people trust level in strangers. 1 In many literatures,the shareof population answeringyes to the question” In general, do you think that most people can be trusted or can’t you be too careful in dealingwith people” was used as the measure of generalized trust. The question has been used in General US Survey since1951,World Values Survey since 1981.(Bjornskov,2) 2 Young:18-35; Middleage:35-65; Old:65-more 3 Can’t be trusted:0-3; Middletrust:4-6; can be trusted:7-10 4 OECD data bank- Ginni coefficientof UK is 0.351 (0-complitely equality,1complitely inequality) 5 World Bank data bank- UK is the 14th placein the world in GPD per capita level (44118$)
  4. 4. ID: 95858920 3 Figure1: Generalized trust level, 2010, Great Britain Source: 2010 British Election Study survey N=3075 The data above depict the level of generalized trust in the British society, however to address the research hypothesis, we need to investigate which factors may lead the variety in the trust level in the society. Therefore, the generalized trust level are going to be examined according to different age group to see whether and to what extend age has a relationship with people trust level in strangers. According to the figure 2, the number of “can’t be trusted” answers came from the young is approximately twice more than answers came from the old. On the other hand, the level of “can be trusted” in older people is significantly high than young ones (53% and 35.4% respectively). Moreover, more than half of old generation trust the people they do not know and only less than one-tenth do not have any trust in the people who they do not recognize. However, only one-third of the young trust other people, and approximately half of them have some trust. One more point is that, middle aged people placed between the young and the old for all trust level as a transition stage. Hence, the result drawn from the survey data is that there is a negative association between age and generalized trust level. Even if, overall trust level in British society is high, the data have given us a strong representation of negative correlation between age and generalized trust level. According to the Chi-Square test, the correlation between the variables is statistically significant at 95%. Thus, quantitative analyse confirms the notion stated in the hypothesis. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 can't be trusted medium trust can be trusted Percentage Trust Most people can be trusted
  5. 5. ID: 95858920 4 Figure1: Agreement with the thought “Most people can be trusted”, 2010, Great Britain Source: 2010 British Election Study survey N=3075, Chi-Square=78.512, p<0.05 In the next step, we have done an interview to understand the reasons why the young less likely trust in strangers. According to my interviewee, there are some basic factors which make the people trust in each other. Awareness is one of them as my interviewee stated: “…before I came to the university, I think, I didn’t trust people, I trusted people less, because I didn’t know people as well”. This means that, the more people have social network, the more they start to believe in strangers. Moreover, one statement of my interviewee shed a light on the main point of our article. Interviewee said, “I think, maybe society make us trust more”. According to my interviewee, connections and consequently dependence among people make them trust more which is the effect of living in the society. On the other hand, from my interviewee’s point of view people tend to trust the ones who have commons with them, like ages, religion, and political view. Furthermore, personality is also very crucial factor in the believing in the strangers. He/she cited his brother as an example of personality and its influence on trust: ”…if was to say my brother, he doesn’t trust in a lot of people… He sees the worst in the people”. 18.2 46.4 35.4 10.3 38.9 50.7 9.4 37.6 53 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 can'tbe trusted middle trust can be trusted Percentage Age Generalized Trust Level young middle age old
  6. 6. ID: 95858920 5 One more think he/she added is the importance of monitoring a person who you trust in. As Levi argued, the more trusting an individual is the lower the personal investment she will make in learning about trustworthiness of trusted (Trust and Governance, 78).In a nutshell, the main findings of the interview are the connection, dependence, effect of society, awareness, and personality. These are all decisive points in the people’s trusts. According to the findings, the more aware people about themselves, the more they will start to trust. Evidently, individual’s awareness level increase averagely as he/she gets older. On the other hand, as an individual becomes mature, he/she build his network, increases his/her connections and eventually depend more on the society. Consequently, we can conclude that, young people trust more than old people which can be drive the factors like awareness, connections and so on. Conclusion The survey of the research paper aims to check the level of generalized trust in the British society and investigate the disparity in the society. The main findings from our quantitative research let us to test the hypothesis, and the hypothesis is justified. Moreover, we did qualitative analyses to figure out the reason behind the variety between the young and the old. Actually, the two main results could be drawn from our quantitative analyses on the basis of our hypothesis. First, people start to trust more in strangers when they get older. Second, new generation is less likely to believe in strangers than the last generation. During the interview, the interviewee mentioned the causes which can confirm both of the notions above. A person becomes more aware of himself and the world around him/her as years passes. As a result, old people trust in more strangers or, an individual trust more when he/she is old than when he/she was young. On the other hand, nowadays young people are more liberal, they feel the pressure of the society less on themselves than the last generation and consequently, their dependence decreases significantly on the society. Therefore, changes in the society may lead people trust less. Nonetheless, it is very difficult to state which is the case for the British society. Hence, to gain more accurate picture of the changes in trust level in British society and to see which notion stated above is right, further studies and research have to be carried out. Note  The number of word typed-2019 words (Note: reference and appendix excluded)  The number of figure- 2 (400 words)  Total words- 2419
  7. 7. ID: 95858920 6 Bibliography  Alberto Alesino and Ellina La Ferrera (1999) Participation in Heterogeneous Communities, National Bureau of Economic Research, pp 1-41  Javier Oliviera (2014) Changes in Inequality and Generalized Trust in Europe, Springer Science pp 22-40  Cristian Bjornskov (2006) Determinants of generalized trust: A cross-country comparison, Springer Science, pp 2-21  Zak, P.J., & Knack, S. (2001) Trust and growth The Economic Journal, pp 111, 295–321  Braithwaite, V & Levi, M. (1998). A State of Trust. In: Braithwaite, V & Levi, M Trust and Governance. New York: Rusell Sage Foundation. pp 77-101.  Kenneth Newton (2001) Trust, Social Capital, Civil Society, and Democracy International Politics Science Review, pp 201-214  Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling alone. The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster  The World Bank. (2015). GDP per capita. Available: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD. Last accessed 13th Dec 2015.  OECD. (2015). Ginni Coefficient. Available: http://www.oecd.org/social/income- distribution-database.htm. Last accessed 13th Dec 2015.
  8. 8. ID: 95858920 7 Appendix Topic Guide Introduction  Background  Born here/ Country of origin  Trust in strangers ( opinion) Involvement in trusting in strangers  Experience of trusting others If yes why, if not why  Factors behind trust/ not trust Individual, circumstance other factor  Issues you trust in others  Monitoring person you trust If yes why/ if not why Importance of involvement  Importance of trusting in others in the society