Trusting only whom you know, knowing only whom you trust: the joint impact of social capital and trust on individuals’ economic performance and happiness in CEE countries
This paper demonstrates that bridging and bonding social capital as well as social trust interdependently affect individuals’ earnings and happiness. Based on crosssectional World Values Survey 2000 data on individuals from eight Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs), we provide evidence that majority of citizens of these countries have likely fallen in a “low trust trap” where deficits of bridging social capital and trust reinforce each other in lowering individuals’ incomes and happiness. Apart from gradual modernization and economic growth, also increases in labor market participation are identified as a potential way out of this “trap”, because employed people in CEECs tend to have statistically significantly more bridging social capital and more trust. While assessing robustness of our empirical results, we have found a high risk of regressor endogeneity and omitted variables bias, generally overlooked in earlier studies. These issues are carefully addressed in the current contribution.
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