Generalizing Trust: The Benign Force of Emancipation
Trust in people is general insofar as it extends to out-groups, that is, unfamiliar and dissimilar others. But whether trust in out-groups can emerge independently from in-group trust is controversial, and conclusive evidence has been unavailable. This article fills this gap, analyzing which conditions create out-group trust independent from in-group trust. Using data from 76 countries around the world, we establish three insights. First, while a high level of in-group trust is the rule, out-group trust varies greatly across countries. Second, out-group trust emerges independent from in-group trust when human empowerment emancipates people from in-group control. Third, other conditions championed as trust-crediting forces do not confound the effect of human empowerment. In conclusion, trust generalizes to out-groups as a result of human empowerment’s emancipatory impulse. © 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.