The impact of associational life on trust in local institutions: a comparison of 57 Swiss municipalities

Freitag, Markus; Ackermann, Maya (2016). The impact of associational life on trust in local institutions: a comparison of 57 Swiss municipalities. Local Government Studies, 42(4), pp. 616-636. Routledge 10.1080/03003930.2016.1154846

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In this paper, we evaluate the impact of associational life on individual political trust in 57 Swiss municipalities. Our hierarchical regression models show that individual political trust is not only affected by individual associational membership but also by the exchange between associations and local political authorities in a community. In other words, if political authorities and associations are linked at the community level, citizens will place more trust in their local institutions. Furthermore, we find clear evidence for the rainmaker hypothesis: our results show that the positive effect of a vibrant connection between associational life and local politics on political trust is not solely confined to the associational members themselves, but rather indicate that the structure of the local civic culture fosters political trust among members and non-members at the same time. However, the internal democratic processes of associations have no effect on individuals’ trust in local political institutions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Freitag, Markus, Ackermann, Maya Esther


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Maya Esther Ackermann

Date Deposited:

02 May 2016 14:19

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:53

Publisher DOI:



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