Lustration systems and trust : evidence from survey experiments in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland

Yuk Ping, Susanne CHOI, Roman DAVID

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

16 Citations (Scopus)


Dealing with personnel inherited from prior regimes in the administration of transitional states is critical for democratic consolidation, a problem traditionally addressed by the dichotomy of continuation or dismissal. However, major organizational innovations to deal with tainted officials appear in postcommunist Central Europe. Using the concept of lustration systems, this study differentiates three archetypes: dismissal, exposure, and confession. The authors propose that each system carries different symbolic meanings, which produce different outcomes for citizens’ trust in government and in tainted officials. The hypothesized effects of different lustration systems on trust are tested by an experiment embedded in nationwide representative surveys conducted in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The results show that dismissal and confession increase citizens’ trust in government and trust in tainted officials. However, exposure reduces citizens’ trust in tainted officials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1172-1201
Number of pages30
JournalThe American Journal of Sociology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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