From a European comparative perspective, the book addresses a broad range of contested issues. Can political trust be conceived as a one-dimensional concept, and to what extent do international population surveys warrant the culturally equivalent measurement of political trust across European societies? Is there indeed an observable general trend of declining levels of political trust? What are the individual, societal and political prerequisites of political trust and how do they translate into trustful attitudes? Why do so many Eastern European citizens still distrust their political institutions and how does the implementation of welfare state policies enhance and benefit from political trust? The comprehensive empirical evidence presented here by leading scholars offers valuable insights into the relational aspects of political trust and will certainly stimulate future research. Features:- a state-of-the-art European perspective on political trust- an analysis of the most recent trends with regard to the development of political trust- a comparison of traditional and emerging democracies in Europe- the consequences of political trust on political stability and the welfare state- a counterbalance to the gloomy American picture of declining political trust levels.