Moralistic Trust and Rationality: The Individualization of Trust

Thursday, July 17, 2014
Room: 511
Hiroko OSAKI , Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-city Tokyo, Japan
This study discusses the individualization of trust.  In the literatures on trust, there are two conflicting views on the definition of trust.  Hardin(1992) argues that trust is based on the prediction about the behavior of other people. In contrast, Uslaner (2002) and Mansbridge (1997) assert that trust is based on moral values or altruism beyond the prediction.

    We can apply this argument to generalized trust, or trust in strangers as well.  Previous studies consider that institutional confidence and voluntary association membership are the two main explanatory variables to determine generalized trust.

    Institution-centered approach asserts that monitoring and sanctioning the law-breakers by order institutions facilitate trustworthiness of people’s action.  Therefore institutional confidence can enhance generalized trust.  This approach assumes that generalized trust is based on the prediction about the behavior of strangers.

    On the other hand, society-centered approach claims that voluntary association membership creates trust to members in belonging group, and it is generalized to strangers outside the group.  This approach implicitly assumes that generalized trust cannot be explained by prediction, but it is based on moral values.

    Thus, generalized trust has the predictive and moralistic aspects. We can call the shift from trust based on the prediction to trust based on the moral value as “individualization of trust.”  Then, what is the condition of the individualization of trust? 

    This study focuses the post-materialism argued by Ronald Inglehart.  We can expect that trusting based on the prediction is rational for materialists who emphasize the existential security.  On the other hand, trusting based on the internalized moral value is assumed to be rational for post-materialists who emphasize the more autonomous choices.

    To test the hypotheses above, this study will make the quantitative-analyses based on the questionnaire survey data in Japan.