1. bookVolume 13 (2017): Issue 1 (June 2017)
Journal Details
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
access type Open Access

Trends in confidence in public institutions: A comparative analysis of the Baltic countries

Published Online: 02 Aug 2017
Volume & Issue: Volume 13 (2017) - Issue 1 (June 2017)
Page range: 7 - 33
Journal Details
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
2 times per year

The paper focuses on the variation of institutional confidence in the Baltic countries. Within of framework of qualitative comparative framework, it employs a historical approach to detect causes of divergence of trust in rule of law institutions between Estonia vis-à-vis other two Baltic states. While it observes a range of variables that could affect the differences, it emphasises the role of political leadership during critical junctures, which might explain both why Estonia forged ahead at the outset of the post-communist transformation and most recent positive developments in the Baltic countries since the financial crisis in 2008–2010.


Auers, Daunis (2015): Comparative Politics and Government of the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the 21st Century. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Search in Google Scholar

Bennich-Björkman, Li (2006): Building Post-communist States: Political Corruption and Strategies of Party Formation in Estonia and Latvia, in Kn. Sven Eliaeson (ed.), Building Democracy and Civil Society East of the Elbe: Essays in Honour of Edmund Mokrzycki. New York: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Bennich-Björkman, Li (2007): The cultural roots of Estonia’s successful transition: how historical legacies shaped the 1990 s. East European Politics & Societies, Vol. 21.10.1177/0888325407299785Search in Google Scholar

Boda, Z. – Medve-Balint, G. (2014): Does Institutional Trust in East Central Europe Differ from Western Europe? European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities 3 (2): 1–17.Search in Google Scholar

Bühlmann, M. – Kunz, R. (2011): Confidence in the Judiciary: Comparing the Independence and Legitimacy of Judicial Systems. West European Politics 34 (2): 317–345.10.1080/01402382.2011.546576Search in Google Scholar

Catterberg, G. – Moreno, A. (2006): The Individual Bases of Political Trust: Trends in New and Established Democracies. International Journal of Public Opinion 18 (1): 31–48.10.1093/ijpor/edh081Search in Google Scholar

Cook, Karen S. – Hardin, Russell – Levi, Margaret (2005): Cooperation without Trust? New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Search in Google Scholar

Drechsler, W. (2005): The Re-Emergence of “Weberian” Public Administration aft er the Fall of New Public Management: The Central and Eastern European Perspective. Halduskultuur 6: 94–108.Search in Google Scholar

Elster, Jon – Offe, Claus – Preuss, Ulrich K. (1998): Institutional Design in Post-communist Societies: Rebuilding the Ship at Sea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511628351Search in Google Scholar

European Commission, Eurobarometer: available at http://ec.europa.eu/COMMFrontOffice/PublicOpinion/.Search in Google Scholar

European Social Survey: available at http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/.Search in Google Scholar

Eurostat: available at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat.Search in Google Scholar

European Values Study: available at http://www.europeanvaluesstudy.eu/.Search in Google Scholar

Gambetta, Diego (2000): Can we trust trust?, in Gambetta, Diego ed., Trust: Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations, 213–237. Oxford: University of Oxford, Department of SociologySearch in Google Scholar

Grönlund, Kimmo – Setälä, Maija (2012): In Honest Officials We Trust: Institutional Confidence in Europe. The American Review of Public Administration 42 (5): 523–54210.1177/0275074011412946Search in Google Scholar

Grzymala-Busse, Anna (2007): Rebuilding Leviathan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511618819Search in Google Scholar

Hall, Peter (2003): Aligning Ontology and Methodology in Comparative Politics, in Mahoney, James – Rueschmeyer, Dietrich (eds). Comparative Historical Analysis in the Social Sciences, 373–404, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511803963.012Search in Google Scholar

Hardin, Russell (2006): Trust. Cambridge: Polity Press.Search in Google Scholar

Hellman, Joel S. (1998): Winners Take All: The Politics of Partial Reform in Postcommunist Transitions. World Politics 50 (2): 203–234.10.1017/S0043887100008091Search in Google Scholar

Kalniņš, Valts (2015): Process-tracing study report on Estonia. ANTICORRP, Hertie School of Governance.Search in Google Scholar

Kumlin, Staffan – Rothstein, Bo (2005): Making and Breaking Social Capital. The Impact of Welfare State Institutions. Comparative Political Studies 38 (4): 339–65.10.1177/0010414004273203Search in Google Scholar

Linde, J. (2012): Why feed the hand that bites you Perceptions of procedural fairness and system support in post-communist democracies. European Journal of Political Research 51 (3): 410–434.10.1111/j.1475-6765.2011.02005.xSearch in Google Scholar

Lühiste, K. (2006): Explaining trust in political institutions: Some illustrations from the Baltic states. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 39: 475–496.10.1016/j.postcomstud.2006.09.001Search in Google Scholar

Mattusch, K. (1997): Weltbilder als Weichensteller für die Richtung des Wandels. Zur Aktualität der “Protestantischen Ethik” am Beispiel des Baltikums, in Sterbling, A. – Zipprian, H. (eds.), Max Weber und Osteuropa. Beiträge zur Osteuropa forschung, Bd. 1. Hamburg: Reinhold Krämer Verlag.Search in Google Scholar

Meer van der, T. – Hakhverdian, A. (2017): Political Trust as the Evaluation of Process and Performance: A Cross-National Study of 42 European Countries. Political Studies 65 (1): 81–102.10.1177/0032321715607514Search in Google Scholar

Miller, A. H. (1993): In Search of Regime Legitimacy, in Miller, A. H. et al., eds., Public Opinion and Regime Change. Oxford: Westview Press.Search in Google Scholar

Mishler, W. – Rose, R. (2001): What Are the Origins of Political Trust? Testing Institutional and Cultural Theories in Post-communist Societies. Comparative Political Studies 34 (1): 30–62.10.1177/0010414001034001002Search in Google Scholar

Nemec, Juraj (2008): Public Management Reforms in CEE: Lessons Learned, in Bouckaert, G. – Nemec, J. – Nakrošis, V. – Hajnal, G. – Tõnnisson, K. eds. Public management reforms in Central and Eastern Europe, 343–372, Bratislava, Slovakia, NISPAcee.Search in Google Scholar

New Baltic Barometer (1993, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2004) [Richard Rose], University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.Search in Google Scholar

Kitschelt, Herbert et al. (1999): Post-Communist Party Systems. Competition, Representation, and Inter-Party Cooperation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781139175173Search in Google Scholar

Norkus, Zenonas (2008): Kokia demokratija, koks kapitalizmas? Pokomunistinė transformacija Lietuvoje lyginamosios istorinės sociologijos požiūriu. Vilnius: Vilniaus universiteto leidykla.Search in Google Scholar

Norkus, Zenonas (2011): Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian post-communist development in the comparative perspective, in Lauristin, Marju, ed., Estonian Human Development Report 2010/2011: Baltic Way(s) of Human Development: Twenty Years On, 22–30, Tallinn: Eesti Koostöögu.Search in Google Scholar

Norkus, Zenonas (2012): On Baltic Slovenia and Adriatic Lithuania: A qualitative comparative analysis of patterns in post-communist transformation. Vilnius, Budapest: Apostrofa/Central European University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Ostrom, Elinor – Ahn, T.K. (2009): The meaning of social capital and its link to collective action. In Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard – Svendsen, Gunnar Lind Haase, eds., Handbook of Social Capital: The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics. Cheltenham & Northhampton: Edward Elgar.Search in Google Scholar

Office of the President of the Republic Lithuania (2015): https://www.lrp.lt/lt/spaudos-centras/pranesimai-spaudai/prezidente-skaitys-sesta-metini-pranesima/22880Search in Google Scholar

Putnam, Robert (1993): Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.10.1515/9781400820740Search in Google Scholar

Ramonaitė, Ainė, et al. (2014): Kaip renkasi Lietuvos rinkėjai? Idėjos, interesai ir įvaizdžiai politikoje. Vilnius: Vilniaus universiteto leidykla.Search in Google Scholar

Randma, L. (2001): A Small Civil Service in Transition: The Case of Estonia. Public Administration and Development, 21(1).10.1002/pad.153Search in Google Scholar

Rose, R. – Mishler, W. (2011): Political Trust and Distrust in Post-Authoritarian Contexts, in Zmerli, S. – Hooghe, M., eds., Political Trust. Why Context Matters, 117–140, ECPR Press.Search in Google Scholar

Rothstein, Bo (2011): The Quality of Government: Corruption, Social Trust, and Inequality in International Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.10.7208/chicago/9780226729589.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Rothstein, Bo – Stolle, Dietlind (2008): The State and Social Capital: An Institutional Theory of Generalized Trust. Comparative Politics, 40 (4)(Jul., 2008): 441–459.10.5129/001041508X12911362383354Search in Google Scholar

Sarapuu, K. (2012): Administrative Structure in Times of Changes: The Development of Estonian Ministries and Government Agencies 1990–2010. International Journal of Public Administration 35.10.1080/01900692.2012.715561Search in Google Scholar

Steen, Anton (1996): Confidence in Institutions in Post-Communist Societies: The Case of the Baltic States, Scandinavian Political Studies 19 (3): 205–224.10.1111/j.1467-9477.1996.tb00391.xSearch in Google Scholar

Svallofors, Stefan (2013): Government quality, egalitarianism, and attitudes to taxes and social spending: A European comparison. European Political Science Review 5(3): 363–380.10.1017/S175577391200015XSearch in Google Scholar

Titma, M. et al. (1998): Winners and losers in the postcommunist transition: New evidence from Estonia. Post-Soviet Affairs 14(2): 114–136.10.1080/1060586X.1998.10641449Search in Google Scholar

Tõnnisson, Kristiina – Randma-Liiv, Tiina (2008): Public Management Reforms: Estonia, in Bouckaert, G. – Nemec, J. – Nakrošis, V. – Hajnal, G. – Tõnnisson, K. eds. Public Management Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe, 93–120, Bratislava, Slovakia: NISPAcee.Search in Google Scholar

United Nations (2015): Human Development Report 2015: available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/2015-report.Search in Google Scholar

Uslaner, Eric M. (2008): Corruption, Inequality, and the Rule of Law: The Bulging Pocket Makes the Easy Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511510410Search in Google Scholar

Uslaner, Eric M. (2009): Corruption, in Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard – Svendsen, Gunnar Lind Haase, eds., Handbook of Social Capital: The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics. Cheltenham & Northhampton: Edward Elgar.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo