22. Trust is Good – Or is Control Better? Trust and Informal Control in Dutch Neighborhoods – Their Association and Consequences

Abstract

The idea of collective efficacy - the degree to which residents engage in collective good production and protection - has been established as key for the understanding why neighborhoods sometimes fail in establishing social and physical order. Theoretically, a basic assumption is that collective efficacy rests in the close association between informal social control and trust. This paper argues that this alleged link between control and trust is not always present and even not always plausible. Different possible relationships between trust and control are discussed and empirically explored by multilevel models of behavior in neighborhoods, and it is examined to which degree control and trust go with important neighborhood consequences such as networks among neighbors, collective action with neighbors, and general satisfaction with the neighborhood. Data from the SSND (Survey of the Social Networks of the Dutch 2014, n = 1067, in 165 neighborhoods) are used. Findings show that trust and informal control are only modestly associated with each other. Furthermore, effects of control are not robust in the statistical models, while trust effects are. Finally, control and trust alignment in different neighborhoods is explored and it is argued that the wider neighborhood context such as type of houses, degree of urbanization and neighborhood history influence the degree to which control goes together with trust.

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