Institutional trust is in decline in many western democracies. Since the 2008 global economic and financial crisis, this increasing distrust has been closely related to trust in political institutions. Trust in institutions is one of the pillars of democracy, and its decline is one of the most evident and shared symptoms of the recession, especially in those contexts where it has been particularly acute. This article has both substantive and methodological aims. From a substantive point of view, it deals with trust in political institutions in Europe, and its decline during the recession. Differences are found among European countries, depending on the severity of the economic crisis. From a methodological point of view, the article compares two methodologies for cross-cultural analyses: the more traditional Multiple-Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis, and the newer Alignment method. Recommendations for the use of the newer method in certain circumstances are provided.