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Working Paper No. 86. The Determinants of Trust

PublikationWorking paper
Christian Bjørnskov, Företagandets villkor, Förtroende, Institutionell ekonomi, Rättsstat, Socialt kapital
Working Paper No. 86.
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Sammanfattning

During the last 15 years, the social capital literature has grown rapidly. In particular after Robert Putnam’s (1993) study of regional governments in Italy, the interest among economists and politologists exploded as Putnam showed that the concept could be used in quantitative explanations of a series of social and economic phenomena. The early literature was unavoidably indiscriminate as to distinguishing between the various elements of social capital, but more recent literature has stressed the need to distinguish between the constituent elements of Putnam’s social capital concept, in particular emphasizing the role of social trust. This is in turn defined as the confidence people have that strangers, i.e. fellow citizens on whom they have no specific information, will not take advantage of them (Uslaner, 2002; Bjørnskov, 2006). Using the answers to the World Values Survey question “In general, do you think that most people can be trusted?”, the by now quite substantial literature has found that social trust is associated with a set of different macroeconomic outcomes: economic growth, the rule of law and overall quality of governance, corruption, education, the extent of violent crime and subjective well-being are all influenced by the propensity of people within any nation to trust each other. The questions are therefore where trust comes from and whether or not it can be affected by public policy. The answers to these questions seem to divide researchers into two camps: the optimists and the pessimists. The former group may be best represented by Knack and Zak (2002) who estimate the effects of education and the rule of law alongside a set of factors that cannot be influenced in the short to medium run. The pessimist group, on the other hand, does not find much of a role for policy as they argue that the empirical associations between social trust and e.g. education or rule of law reflect the reverse causal direction, i.e. that trust has caused part of the cross-country differences in these factors. The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of a number of the central factors proposed in the literature and sort out which of those factors are associated with social trust. Although it to some extent rests on earlier work in Uslaner (2002) and Bjørnskov (2005), the paper differs from earlier studies in using a much larger sample of countries and including extra factors. It moreover distinguishes between factors affecting individuals’ trust radii and social distance, respectively, and explores indirect effects.

Bjørnskov, C. (2006). The Determinants of Trust. Ratio Working Paper No. 86.

Baserat på innehåll

Working Paper No. 189. Constitutional Property Rights Protection and Economic Growth
Working paperPublikation
Bjørnskov, C.
Publiceringsår

2012

Publicerat i

Ratio Working Paper

Sammanfattning

This paper seeks to estimate the economic growth effect of constitutional provisions for property rights protection. It does so using the unique situation in formerly communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus where all but two introduced new constitutions after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The effects of implementing different constitutional provisions can therefore be observed in a group of countries with the same formal starting point. Estimates provide no evidence of positive effects and mainly point towards a negative conclusion: the introduction of constitutional protection of property rights is not associated with economic development in the long run, but tends to impose costs during a period of institutional transition and implementation proportional to the constitutional change.

Working Paper No. 189. Constitutional Property Rights Protection and Economic Growth
Working paperPublikation
Bjørnskov, C.
Publiceringsår

2012

Publicerat i

Ratio Working Paper

Sammanfattning

This paper seeks to estimate the economic growth effect of constitutional provisions for property rights protection. It does so using the unique situation in formerly communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus where all but two introduced new constitutions after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The effects of implementing different constitutional provisions can therefore be observed in a group of countries with the same formal starting point. Estimates provide no evidence of positive effects and mainly point towards a negative conclusion: the introduction of constitutional protection of property rights is not associated with economic development in the long run, but tends to impose costs during a period of institutional transition and implementation proportional to the constitutional change.

Working Paper No. 86. The Determinants of Trust
Working paperPublikation
Bjørnskov, C.
Publiceringsår

2006

Publicerat i

Ratio Working Paper

Sammanfattning

During the last 15 years, the social capital literature has grown rapidly. In particular after Robert Putnam’s (1993) study of regional governments in Italy, the interest among economists and politologists exploded as Putnam showed that the concept could be used in quantitative explanations of a series of social and economic phenomena. The early literature was unavoidably indiscriminate as to distinguishing between the various elements of social capital, but more recent literature has stressed the need to distinguish between the constituent elements of Putnam’s social capital concept, in particular emphasizing the role of social trust. This is in turn defined as the confidence people have that strangers, i.e. fellow citizens on whom they have no specific information, will not take advantage of them (Uslaner, 2002; Bjørnskov, 2006). Using the answers to the World Values Survey question “In general, do you think that most people can be trusted?”, the by now quite substantial literature has found that social trust is associated with a set of different macroeconomic outcomes: economic growth, the rule of law and overall quality of governance, corruption, education, the extent of violent crime and subjective well-being are all influenced by the propensity of people within any nation to trust each other. The questions are therefore where trust comes from and whether or not it can be affected by public policy. The answers to these questions seem to divide researchers into two camps: the optimists and the pessimists. The former group may be best represented by Knack and Zak (2002) who estimate the effects of education and the rule of law alongside a set of factors that cannot be influenced in the short to medium run. The pessimist group, on the other hand, does not find much of a role for policy as they argue that the empirical associations between social trust and e.g. education or rule of law reflect the reverse causal direction, i.e. that trust has caused part of the cross-country differences in these factors. The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of a number of the central factors proposed in the literature and sort out which of those factors are associated with social trust. Although it to some extent rests on earlier work in Uslaner (2002) and Bjørnskov (2005), the paper differs from earlier studies in using a much larger sample of countries and including extra factors. It moreover distinguishes between factors affecting individuals’ trust radii and social distance, respectively, and explores indirect effects.

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