Testing for Measurement Equivalence in Surveys: Dimensions of Social Trust across Cultural Contexts

Freitag, Markus; Bauer, Paul Cornelius (2013). Testing for Measurement Equivalence in Surveys: Dimensions of Social Trust across Cultural Contexts. Public Opinion Quarterly, 77(S1), pp. 24-44. Oxford Journals 10.1093/poq/nfs064

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Our study evaluates the dimensionality and equivalence of social trust across cultural contexts, using new data from Switzerland and the World Values Survey 2005–2008. Whereas some scholars assert that trust should be regarded as a coherent concept, others claim that trust is better conceived of as a multidimensional concept. In contrast to the conventional dichotomy of the forms of social trust, we identify three distinct forms of trust, namely, particularized, generalized, and identity-based trust. Moreover, we dispute the view that respondents understand the wording of survey questions regarding social trust differently between different cultural contexts, which would imply that comparative research on trust is a pointless endeavor. Applying multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis to the various constructs of social
trust, we conclude that one may study relationships among the three
forms of trust and other theoretical constructs as well as compare latent
means across cultural contexts. Our analyses therefore provide an optimistic
outlook for future comparative analyses that investigate forms of social trust across cultural contexts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Freitag, Markus and Bauer, Paul Cornelius


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Oxford Journals




Mahboob Hasan

Date Deposited:

23 May 2014 11:54

Last Modified:

16 Jan 2015 12:05

Publisher DOI:






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