Working Papers

Political Assassination, Institutional Trust and Elite Cues : Quasi-Experiment from Tunisia

Recent studies debated whether crises and security events increase public trust in institutions through a "rally-around-the-flag" or decrease it through an "accountability effect." Looking at the case of the assassination of the high-profile party leader Chokri Belaid that happened under the rule of the Islamist-led Troika government in Tunisia, I apply a quasi-experimental design to see if elite cueing during the unexpected crisis can push the masses' trust in institutions in one direction or another. Analyzing an original data set of news articles published in national media outlets, I find that the assassination left had a causal effect on the media association of the main ruling party to violence and assassination and no effect on the association with failure. Then, I use an Unexpected Event During Survey design to verify whether elite cues following the political assassination had an effect on the public trust in security and civilian institutions.