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On the determinants of honesty perceptions in the United States

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  • Christian Bjørnskov

Abstract

This paper explores the determinants of perceptions of the honesty of most people across 48 US states and three periods. The results show support for the detrimental effects of income inequality but no or little support for a set of popular alternative theories from the related literature on social trust. The decline in honesty perceptions in recent decades is found to have been a consequence of increasing social polarization and the natural decline of the most trusting age cohorts. Residual honesty has increased since the 1970s, giving rise to markedly different policy implications than those forwarded in most studies in the trust literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Bjørnskov, 2012. "On the determinants of honesty perceptions in the United States," Rationality and Society, , vol. 24(3), pages 257-294, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:24:y:2012:i:3:p:257-294
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    Keywords

    Honesty; inequality; panel data; social trust;

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