This article examines how the effect of education on institutional trust varies cross-nationally as a function of the pervasiveness of public-sector corruption. We approach institutional trust as a performance-based evaluation of political institutions. Given their greater capacity to accurately assess the level of corruption coupled with their stronger commitment to democratic values, we hypothesize that higher-educated citizens should react differently to corruption from those with less education. Employing multilevel models we find that education has both a conditional and a conditioning effect on institutional trust. First, education is negatively related to institutional trust in corrupt societies and positively related to institutional trust in clean societies. Second, the corrosive effect of corruption on institutional trust worsens as education improves. The article ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the functioning of contemporary democracies.
Hakhverdian, Armen, and Quinton Mayne. "Institutional Trust, Education, and Corruption: A Micro-Macro Interactive Approach." Journal of Politics 74.3 (July 2012): 739-750.