Historical Social Research

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Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard Svendsen & Peter Graeff, Explaining the Emergence of Social Trust: Denmark and Germany [Abstract]

How does social trust emerge in a country? By comparing the cases of Denmark and Germany through six historical phases, we suggest that a plausible explanation is long run political stability. In Denmark, social trust was arguably allowed to accumulate slowly over time and was probably not destroyed up till the universal welfare state of the 20th century. In Germany, however, political instability since the first German state building hampered the emergence and maintenance of social trust, which is why social trust was never allowed to grow in this country.