This study performs a multilevel analysis of public trust in local government. We develop and test competing hypotheses about the contextual and individual-level sources of local political trust. The results show that citizens' trust in local government is shaped not only by individual-level factors but also by city-level factors such as income inequality, ideological polarization, political institutions, racial fractionalization, and size of population. Cross-level analysis further indicates that the effects of race on local political trust are conditioned by cities' systems of political representation.
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WENDY M. RAHN is an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. THOMAS J. RUDOLPH is an associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Earlier versions of this article were presented at the 2001 Princeton Conference on Trust in Government, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, and the 2002 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. We thank Jim Kuklinksi, Eric Oliver, Tom Scott, participants in the Princeton Conference on Trust in Government, and participants in the NES Workshop for helpful comments and suggestions. Preparation of this article was generously supported by a grant from the Northwest Area Foundation. Research support was also provided by the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan. Address correspondence to Thomas J. Rudolph; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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