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Political Inequality and the Origins of Distrust: Evidence for Colombia

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  • Alvarez Villa, Daphne

Abstract

This paper aims to identify the effect of political exclusion on social capital in Colombia, suggesting social capital as an important channel through which political inequality has been central for Colombian economic development. I use the Colombian National Front agreement during 1958-1974 to test my hypothesis, as it institutionalized the political exclusion of non-traditional parties in that country. Whereas it affected all regions at the same time, it implied differential effects according to the municipalities’ initial political diversity. The empirical strategy deals with the potential endogeneity in the variation of the treatment by using region fixed effects and relevant control variables in a cross-section model, as well as performing robustness checks. I further use panel fixed effects models with electoral turnout as a measure of social capital. I find that political exclusion imposed by the National Front may have led to less trusting individuals today, to a higher perception of free riding behaviors and to lower levels of electoral turnout. I also find that a possible channel through which political exclusion in the past may be able to explain social capital in the present is distrust towards the state.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvarez Villa, Daphne, 2013. "Political Inequality and the Origins of Distrust: Evidence for Colombia," Discussion Papers in Economics 17198, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:17198
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Institutions; Social Capital; Democracy; Colombia;

    JEL classification:

    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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