Second, government officials hold power and authority. They are expected to
uphold the responsibilities of their office and hence allow the system to perform its
expected duties. One can expect that trustors' reliance on the system grows when
there is no other basis for trust: no social context and prior experience with a specific
trustee [ 37 ]. For example, in the absence of specific experience with a legal or
political institution (Fig. 3.2 ), the individuals form their trust evaluation based on
generalized expectations of the government. These expectations are driven by the
norms of the social groups that individuals belong to. Overall, a difficult problem
like: “how fair will the court hearing be?” is replaced with an easier one like “how
much do I trust the government?”.
Montinola [ 50 ] shows a specific instance of this phenomenon in the study
of trust for local courts in Philippines. This study reveals that individuals with
direct experience of the courts based their trust decisions on their individual
experience. Those without any prior court experience rely on their overall trust for
the government as represented by the president.
De Cremer and Tyler [ 10 ] study to which degree a micro-level observation, i.e.,
trust for the leader of an institution in power impacts the macro-level phenomenon,
i.e., trust for the procedural fairness of a specific institution. The findings suggest
that procedural fairness plays a role in trust evaluations when the trust in authority
is high, but is not considered when the trust in authority is low. In this complex
dependence relation, when trust in authority is low, procedural fairness does not
matter. The institution is not trusted. Only when the authority is trusted, secondary
concerns play a role.
Pagden [ 53 ] discusses how trust in institutions is deeply linked to social interac-
tions that allow individuals to communicate and establish shared understanding and
values. Culture can be considered as a set of social values that creates generalized
expectations with regard to different institutions for a specific social group. Pagden
argues that Spanish rulers of eighteenth Century Naples employed a number of
tactics with the specific purpose of weakening the society and trust, to make it easier
to rule it from afar. In particular, they created new hierarchies that undermined the
existing authorities, new rules that made it for hard for different groups to establish
trusting relationships, and different legal rules for different social groups that created
suspicion and distrust towards the legal system. These actions ultimately lead to
the destruction of trust towards various institutions and the steady collapse of trust
within the society.
Yamagishi and Yamagishi [ 78 ] survey Japanese and American citizen and find
that American citizens show more generalized trust towards others in their society.
In contrast, Japanese citizens place a larger emphasis on the individual experience
with the trustees. One explanation is that the Japanese society is more deeply
embedded in social relations, making it less reliant on formal institutions overall
for maintenance of trust.
How trust beliefs are formed by the trustors and what information they use to
evaluate trust is discussed in detail in the Sect. 3.2 . The examples above illustrate
cases in which the trustor uses different criteria to decide whether to trust a trustee
who is acting as part of a greater system. In such cases, the trustor's dependence is