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Free to Trust? Economic Freedom and Social Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Berggren, Niclas

    () (Ratio Institute)

  • Jordahl, Henrik

    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

We present new evidence on how generalized trust is formed. Unlike previous studies, we look at the explanatory power of economic institutions, we use newer data, we incorporate more countries, and we use instrumental variables to handle the causality problem. A central result is that legal structure and security of property rights (area 2 of the Economic Freedom Index) increase trust. The idea is that a market economy, building on voluntary transactions and interactions with both friends and strangers within the predictability provided by the rule of law, entails both incentives and mechanisms for trust to emerge between people.

Suggested Citation

  • Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik, 2005. "Free to Trust? Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Working Paper Series 2005:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2005_002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christian Bjornskov, 2003. "The Happy Few: Cross--Country Evidence on Social Capital and Life Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 3-16, February.
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    6. Bengtsson, Mikael & Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik, 2005. "Trust and Growth in the 1990s - A Robustness Analysis," Working Paper Series 2005:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
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    8. Werner Güth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "The Coevolution of Trust and Institutions in Anonymous and Non-anonymous Communities," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-07, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
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    11. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social capital; trust; economic freedom; rule of law; property rights; legal system;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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