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Trust and Fiscal Performance: A Panel Analysis with Swiss Data

Author

Listed:
  • Benno Torgler

    (Yale Center for International and Area Studies)

  • Christoph A. Schaltegger

    (Swiss Federal Tax Administration University of St. Gallen and CREMA, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts)

Abstract

Citizens are willing to abandon their short-term financial interest in free-riding considerably, if governments act in their interest, if procedures of the public decisions-making process are felt to be fair and if other fellow-citizens have to contribute also an adequate share to the community. In such a situation trustworthiness of a government and trust in a government is high. This paper provides empirical evidence that trust is crucial for fiscal performance using data for the full sample of Swiss cantons over the 1981-2001 period. In cantons with high levels of trust, the level of indebtedness is significantly lower. Trust supports fiscal discipline. In order to get a useful approximation for mutual trust among citizens and between citizens and their representatives, we use information from direct voter participation on political issues (initiatives and public referenda) held in Swiss state (cantonal) governments. Electoral support of government proposals reveals an important aspect of trust in a real world setting. Hence, our trust variable measures the behavior at the ballots thereby reducing possible subjective biases derived from surveys and questionnaires.

Suggested Citation

  • Benno Torgler & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2005. "Trust and Fiscal Performance: A Panel Analysis with Swiss Data," Working Papers 2005.61, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2005.61
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2006. "Does Envy Destroy Social Fundamentals? The Impact of Relative Income Position on Social Capital," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2006 2006-04, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    2. Gaetano Lisi, 2012. "Macroeconomic implications of the dynamics between power and trust: a theoretical formalisation of the ‘slippery slope’ framework," Discussion Papers in Economic Behaviour 1012, University of Valencia, ERI-CES.
    3. Pedro L. Rodríguez, José R. Morales, Fancisco J. Monaldi, 2012. "Direct Distribution of Oil Revenues in Venezuela: A Viable Alternative?," Working Papers 306, Center for Global Development.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:26:y:2006:i:4:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Justina AV Fischer & Antonio Rodriguez-Andr�s, 2008. "Political institutions and suicide: A regional analysis of Switzerland," TWI Research Paper Series 33, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    6. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2006. "The Effect of Relative Income Position on Social Capital," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 26(4), pages 1-20.
    7. Lisi, Gaetano, 2014. "The interaction between trust and power: Effects on tax compliance and macroeconomic implications," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 24-33.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust; Social capital; Fiscal performance; Indebtedness;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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