Data and codes for: Does political trust bridge the ideological gap in preferences for redistribution? Evidence from Europe

Published: 08-09-2019| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/hdb6yk9kgb.1
Chun Chee Kok


The question of whether government should redistribute to reduce economic inequality is the most marked dividing line between the political left and the political right on economic issues. Hetherington's trust-as-heuristic theory predicts that political trust is an important instrument in bridging the ideological gap in preferences for redistribution. While this theory has received considerable empirical support in the United States, limited studies have been done in the European context. Employing data from the European So- cial Survey(ESS) from 2008 to 2017, this study shows that political trust is negatively associated with preferences for redistribution. In addition, political trust widens, rather than bridges, the ideological gap in preferences for redistribution in Europe. The results suggest that Europeans with higher levels of political trust are less likely to exhibit stronger preferences for redistribution because redistribution is perceived as less necessary to correct injustices generated by corruption. As a result, at higher levels of political trust, the left and the right tend to exercise their ideological principles, with the right being even less in favour of redisribution, giving rise to a greater ideological gap.