The paper examines between-country differences in the mechanisms through which education could promote generalised trust using data from 29 countries participating in the OECD’s Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). Results indicate that education is strongly associated with generalised trust and that a large part of this association is mediated by individuals’ literacy skills, income and occupational prestige. However, education gradients in levels of generalised trust and in the extent to which they are due to social stratification mechanisms or cognitive skills mechanisms vary across countries. Differences across countries in birthplace diversity and income inequality are correlated with how strongly education is associated with trust in different countries, as well as in the relative magnitude of direct and indirect associations. In particular, the relationship between literacy skills and generalised trust is stronger in the presence of greater birthplace diversity but is weaker in the presence of greater income inequality.