IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/diw/diwwpp/dp609.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does Democracy Foster Trust?

Author

Listed:
  • Helmut Rainer
  • Thomas Siedler

Abstract

The level of trust inherent in a society is important for a wide range of microeconomic and macroeconomic outcomes. This paper investigates how individuals' attitudes toward social and institutional trust are shaped by the political regime in which they live. The German reunification is a unique natural experiment that allows us to conduct such a study. Using data from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) and from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we obtain two sets of results. On one side, we find that, shortly after reunification, East Germans displayed a significantly less trusting attitude than West Germans. This suggests a negative effect of communism in East Germany versus democracy in West Germany on social and institutional trust. However, the experience of democracy by East Germans since reunification did not serve to increase levels of social trust significantly. In fact, we cannot reject the hypothesis that East Germans, after more than a decade of democracy, have the same levels of social distrust as shortly after the collapse of communism. In trying to understand the underlying causes, we show that the persistence of social distrust in the East can be explained by negative economic outcomes that many East Germans experienced in the post-reunification period. Our main conclusion is that democracy can foster trust in post-communist societies only when citizens' economic outcomes are right.

Suggested Citation

  • Helmut Rainer & Thomas Siedler, 2006. "Does Democracy Foster Trust?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 609, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp609
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.44545.de/dp609.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    2. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & J�rgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, "undated". "A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining trust and trustworthiness by integrating behavioral experiments into representative surveys," IEW - Working Papers 141, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm, 2008. "The Costs of Remoteness: Evidence from German Division and Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1766-1797, December.
    6. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    7. Harald Uhlig, 2006. "Regional Labor Markets, Network Externalities and Migration: The Case of German Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 383-387, May.
    8. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366, Elsevier.
    9. Snower, Dennis J. & Merkl, Christian, 2006. "The caring hand that cripples: The East German labor market after reunification (detailed version)," Kiel Working Papers 1263, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    10. Joachim Frick & Jan Goebel, 2008. "Regional Income Stratification in Unified Germany Using a Gini Decomposition Approach," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 555-577.
    11. Alberto Alesina & Nichola Fuchs Schuendeln, 2005. "Good bye Lenin (or not?): The Effect of Communism on People's Preferences," NBER Working Papers 11700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Russell Hardin, 1993. "The Street-Level Epistemology of Trust," Politics & Society, , vol. 21(4), pages 505-529, December.
    13. Bernd Görzig & Martin Gornig & Axel Werwatz, 2004. "East Germany's Wage Gap: A Non-Parametric Decomposition Based on Establishment Characteristics," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 451, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "Does democracy foster trust?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 251-269, June.
    15. Dennis J. Snower & Christian Merkl, 2006. "The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labor Market after Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 375-382, May.
    16. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    17. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "Does democracy foster trust?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 251-269, June.
    18. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2002. "Who trusts? The origins of social trust in seven nations," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 02-402, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    19. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
    20. Joel Slemrod & Peter Katuák, 2005. "Do Trust and Trustworthiness Pay Off?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    21. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
    22. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2006. "Health and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 313-318, May.
    23. Jennifer Hunt, 2006. "Staunching Emigration from East Germany: Age and the Determinants of Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 1014-1037, September.
    24. Buchan, Nancy & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "The boundaries of trust: own and others' actions in the US and China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 485-504, December.
    25. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2009. "Does democracy foster trust?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 251-269, June.
    2. Rainer, Helmut & Siedler, Thomas, 2006. "Does Democracy Foster Trust? Evidence from the German Reunification," Economics Discussion Papers 8903, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    3. Heineck, Guido & Süssmuth, Bernd, 2013. "A different look at Lenin’s legacy: Social capital and risk taking in the Two Germanies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 789-803.
    4. Grund Christian & Harbring Christine, 2013. "Trust and Control at the Workplace: Evidence from Representative Samples of Employees in Europe," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 233(5-6), pages 619-637, October.
    5. Hong, Kessely & Bohnet, Iris, 2007. "Status and distrust: The relevance of inequality and betrayal aversion," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 197-213, April.
    6. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "Who are the trustworthy, we think?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 456-465, December.
    7. Ciriolo, Emanuele, 2007. "Inequity aversion and trustees' reciprocity in the trust game," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1007-1024, December.
    8. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005. "An Experimental Study of the Effects of Inequality and Relative Deprivation on Trusting Behavior," Working Papers 14, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    9. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher, 2004. "Age and the development of trust and reciprocity," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-01, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    10. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-382, May.
    11. Greiner, Ben & Ockenfels, Axel & Werner, Peter, 2012. "The dynamic interplay of inequality and trust—An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 355-365.
    12. Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre, 2014. "Trust, Growth, and Well-Being: New Evidence and Policy Implications," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 2, pages 49-120, Elsevier.
    13. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    14. Alberto E. Chong & David A. Fleming & Hernán D. Bejarano, 2011. "Trust and Trustworthiness in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters: Experimental Evidence from the 2010 Chilean Earthquake," Working Papers 2011-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    15. Tim Friehe & Markus Pannenberg, 2020. "Time preferences and political regimes: evidence from reunified Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 349-387, January.
    16. John F. Helliwell & Shun Wang & Jinwen Xu, 2016. "How Durable are Social Norms? Immigrant Trust and Generosity in 132 Countries," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 201-219, August.
    17. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    18. Xin, Guangyi, 2017. "Trust and Economic Performance: A Panel Study," MPRA Paper 80815, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Armin Falk & Christian Zehnder, 2007. "Discrimination and In-group Favoritism in a Citywide Trust Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 318, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    20. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Trust; Institutional Trust; Political Regimes.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp609. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/diwbede.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Bibliothek (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/diwbede.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.