Familiarity Breeds Trust: Collective Action in a Policy Domain

Authors


Mark Lubell is associate professor of environmental science and policy, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Researchers are currently refining the concept and theory of trust to focus on identifying the bases of trust within specific domains. This paper examines the development of trust within the domain of agricultural water policy, where trust is a critical resource for solving collective action problems. The analysis uses data from a mail survey of farmers in agricultural water policy to integrate three theoretical frameworks: the conventional generalized trust perspective, Levi's transaction cost theory of trust, and Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith's Advocacy Coalition Framework. The results demonstrate that while there is a close relationship between the attitude of trust and beliefs about the behavior of policy actors, the dynamics of trust within policy domains should be understood within the context of institutional structures and competing political values.

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