Territorial reforms, mobilisation, and political trust: a case study from Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonLocal Government Studies, 2022. 10.1080/03003930.2021.2025360
The focus of this study is the political trust implications of territorial reforms, approaches to territorial reform, and the effects of the mobilisation of political-territorial collective identities. We focus on the political trust effects of political-territorial mobilisation grounded on territorial reforms, and of voluntary and forced structural reforms. The case examined is that of Norway, a country characterised by high levels of trust before a recent county reform. Utilising four survey waves from 2013 to 2019, we measure trust in national politicians both pre- and post-reform, giving us a quasi-experimental design. The findings indicate that political trust was not affected by whether the reform was forced on counties or they accepted it voluntarily. However, political trust was negatively affected by forced structural reforms in combination with regionalism, i.e., mobilisation of political-territorial collective identities. This finding provides new insight about how territorial reforms may affect political trust.