Edited by Yaojun Li
Chapter 4: The roots of trust
Trust is a concept that is generally seen as at the heart of social capital. However, more effort has been spent using the concept than understanding its meanings. There are common (mis-) understandings that trust depends upon interactions with people you know personally, that it is fragile, that it depends upon reciprocity, and that it is the foundation of much that is good within and across societies. And there is also a widespread argument that trust is difficult to measure – and that the existing measures are poor. The most common view of trust is that it rests upon information and experience. Claus Offe (1999: 56; cf. Putnam, 1993: 170) states: ‘Trust in persons results from past experience with concrete persons.’ Russell Hardin (2002: 13) goes even further: ‘my trust of you must be grounded in expectations that are particular to you, not merely in generalized expectations’. Hardin’s (2002: 55–6) view is that trustworthiness is more important than trust. There is also a widespread perception that trust is fragile (Coleman, 1990: 310; Dasgupta, 1988: 50). It is easily broken. If I give my trust to you – say I loan you $10 – and you don’t pay me back, my faith in you will be shattered. Trust is thus a three-way relationship, between two people and some objective: A trusts B to do X (Hardin, 1992: 154).
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.