An Investigation of Meanings of “Trust” and Their Transition in the Surveys on the Japanese National Character and Other Related Surveys

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Yusuke INAGAKI, The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Japan
Takashi NAKAMURA, The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Japan
Yoo Sung PARK, The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Japan
Trust has long been studied as one of the underlying mechanisms enabling society to function smoothly. However, there are problems with measuring “trust” through social surveys. Because the word “trust” has a large variety of meanings, even if we use the same scale for measuring, it may be difficult to capture an identical aspect of it. This suggests that it is not enough to observe trends of response distributions of trust–related items separately for understanding changes in social situations. To grasp the actual situations of time trends on trust, this study investigates the conceptual structure of trust in the Surveys on the Japanese National Character, one of the oldest social survey in Japan conducted by the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, and other related services using a latent class model. As a result, we extracted three latent classes, named them “carefulness”, “generalized trust”, and “distrust (assurance)” based on values of conditional response probabilities of the model. Furthermore, we examined proportions of three classes in each survey. In 1978, the percentage of “carefulness” was the highest of all, but this gradually changed with the times. The percentage of “carefulness” has decreased gradually over recent decades. On the other hand the percentage of “generalized trust” increased rapidly in the early 1990s, ultimately reaching around 50% in 2013. The results derived from this analysis may indicate that Japan has been shifted from the low to high trust society.