This study examines relative trust in national versus local institutions in South Asia using a tripartite framework that combines political and economic performance with religious identity to explain the three categories of relative trust that correspond to individuals whose trust in national institutions is stronger than, equal to, or weaker than their trust in local institutions. In particular, religious minorities in South Asia are often discriminated against and poorly represented at the national level but tend to cluster in local communities, which erodes their trust in national institutions but not necessarily in local institutions. The empirical analysis of two waves of South Asian Barometer surveys eight years apart produced consistent results which suggest that the religious segregation and discrimination in South Asian countries tilt relative trust patterns among religious minorities in favor of local institutions at the expense of national ones.

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