The Global Trust Inventory as a “Proxy Measure” for Social Capital: Measurement and Impact in 11 Democratic Societies

James H. Liu, Petar Milojev, Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Robert Jiqi Zhang

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32 Scopus citations


The Global Trust Inventory (GTI), conceptually assessing trust in others ranging from close interpersonal relationships to relationships with government and financial institutions as a whole, was administered to representative online samples in 11 democratic states (N = 11,917 from Europe, the Americas, and New Zealand). A seven-factor solution had configural, metric, and reasonable scalar invariance in multi-group confirmatory factor analysis. Using latent profile analysis, individual-level measures of trust were derived that complement existing measures of social capital in their impact and implications. Western societies had proportionately more people with high propensity to trust, Catholic/European intermediate, and Latin American societies the least. A High Trust Profile had virtues associated with social capital: greater participation in political discussion, greater elaboration of political thinking, more community engagement, less prejudice, and greater participation in elections. A Low Trust Profile exhibited opposite tendencies. Demographically, high trust was associated with higher self-reported social status, home ownership, older age, and political conservatism. A more complex set of relationships differentiated two intermediate profiles, dubbed Moderate and Low Institutional Trust. Conceptually, the GTI operationalizes a holistic view of trust as a “synthetic force” that holds various aspects of society together, ranging from interpersonal to institutionalized relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-810
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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