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Does social distrust always lead to a stronger support for government intervention?

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  • Hans Pitlik
  • Ludek Kouba

Abstract

We address empirically trust as a determinant of support for government intervention. The central notion provided in the present paper is that the influence of generalized social trust on intervention attitudes is conditional on the perceived reliability, honesty, and incorruptibility of state actors and of major companies. Starting point is an idea by Aghion, Algan, Cahuc, and Shleifer (2010) that individuals who generally distrust others have a stronger taste for a regulation of economic activities, while people with high interpersonal trust are in favor of less strict regulations and state control. This line of argumentation neglects that (lack of) trust spills over to distrust in both governmental as well as in private institutions. People who tend to (dis-)trust other unknown people also tend to (dis-)trust state actors and private sector actors. Estimating the determinants of interventionist preferences with data from the World Values Survey/European Values Study for approximately 100,000 -115,000 individuals in 37 OECD- and EU-countries, we show that the impact of social trust on government intervention attitudes is conditional on individual confidence in state actors and in companies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by WWWforEurope in its series WWWforEurope Policy Paper series with number 8.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:feu:wfeppr:y:2014:m:1:d:0:i:8

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Postal: WWWforEurope Project Office Austrian Institute of Economic Research Arsenal Objekt 20 A-1030 Vienna
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Keywords: Social trust; institutional trust; government regulation; preference formation;

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Cited by:
  1. Ludek Kouba & Hans Pitlik, 2014. "I wanna live my life: Locus of Control and Support for the Welfare State," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics 2014-46, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.

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