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Who Do You Trust? Ethnicity And Trust In Bosnia And Herzegovina

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  • Håkansson, Peter

    (European Institute of Japanese Studies)

  • Sjöholm, Fredrik

    ()
    (European Institute of Japanese Studies)

Abstract

Bosnia and Herzegovina has experienced a turbulent post-independence transition. It can be argued that the level of trust is likely to have been negatively affected by this turbulence and that it is important to restore trust to achieve sustainable political and economic development. This paper looks at trust in Bosnia and Herzegovina and puts a special focus on the role of ethnicity. We find generalized trust to be low in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it seems to have declined in recent years. Moreover, generalized trust is negatively affected by the degree of ethnic heterogeneity in the region. However, a further and more detailed examination of trust reveals a more complex relationship between ethnicity and trust: people tend to show low levels of trust in all other people irrespective of their ethnic belongings. We argue that ethnic distribution might capture some other regional specific characteristics that also affect the level of trust. One possibility is that ethnically heterogeneous regions tended to be severely affected by the war and that this has negatively affected the level of trust towards all people outside of a person’s family.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The European Institute of Japanese Studies in its series EIJS Working Paper Series with number 216.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 06 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:eijswp:0216

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Keywords: Trust; Social Capital; Ethnicity; Southeast Europe; Bosnia and Herzegovina;

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References

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  1. Steven N. Durlauf & Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 10485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  3. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  4. Martin Raiser & Christian Haerpfer & Thomas Nowotny & Claire Wallace, 2001. "Social capital in transition: a first look at the evidence," Working Papers 61, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist.
  5. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  6. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  7. Mitchell, Shannon K., 2004. "Death, Disability, Displaced Persons and Development: The Case of Landmines in Bosnia and Herzegovina," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 2105-2120, December.
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