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Institutional Trust in Cross-National Research: A Measurement Invariance Approach

  • Author(s): Mendes Fialho, Fabrício
  • Advisor(s): Bentler, Peter M.
  • et al.

Extensive social sciences research has examined the implications of institutional trust in cross-sectional and cross-national studies. However, relatively little attention has been paid to its psychometric properties: Its unidimensionality has more often been assumed rather than tested and most of tests of cross-national comparability has been conducted in advanced democracies while lesser is knows about other countries and regions around the globe. I employ a confirmatory factor analysis model for ordered-categorical variables to test for the cross-national measurement invariance of a multidimensional measurement model of institutional trust to analyze data from forty participant countries in the World Values Survey Wave 5 (2005-2009). Results suggest that the three-dimensional model of trust achieves adequate model fit well across different countries. Evidence from measurement invariance tests support its comparability within and between cultural areas. Despite of the successful application of the model, it is argued that careful attention to the measurement properties in comparative survey research is needed, with special attention to case selection.

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