Public trust is either an attribute of a relationship, a property of an individual personality, or an attribute of socialization (a cultural rule). These three conceptualizations of trust overlap when oligarchs and populists make and break the elites. Populations should trust their hopes that upward mobility towards the elite status is possible, which will generate enough commitment to the reproduction of social order. To sustain belief in meritocracy, populations should also trust that the elites deserve their elite status. Trust in academic professionals as the acknowledged, legitimized experts in producing knowledge is a litmus paper of social trust. The quality of academic credentials-of bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees-should be trusted, as they are thought to stimulate the evolution of complex societies.

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Keywords Academic professionals, Cultural rule, Meritocracy, Trust
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Magala, S.J. (2018). Public trust and organizational change. In Managing Public Trust (pp. 43–55). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-70485-2_4