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Does trust favor macroeconomic stability?

  • Marc Sangnier

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

This paper investigates the relationship between trust and macroeconomic volatility. In a cross section of countries, we show that higher trust is associated with lower macroeconomic instability. We use the inherited trust of Americans as an instrumental variable of trust in their origin country to overcome all potential reverse causality concerns. We use changes in inherited trust over the XXth century to show that increasing trust also decreases volatility across time. Thus, trust is shown to be an important determinant of macroeconomic stability both in space and time. Finally, we show that trust reduces investment volatility but not public expenditure volatility.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00575021
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