Inequality, trust, and sustainability
Instrumental arguments linking inequality to sustainability often suppose a negative relationship between inequality and social cohesion, and empirical studies of inequality and social trust support the assumption. If true, then redistribution should increase levels of social cohesion and thereby ease the implementation of policies that require collective action to achieve shared benefits. However, an examination of the data suggests that at least part of the relationship may be explained by income level, rather than income distribution, suggesting that growth, rather than redistribution, may achieve the same goal. This paper tests for the possibility and suggests that income is indeed important in explaining differences in levels of social trust. However, the effect of income level is insufficient to explain all of the dependence on income inequality; both income level and income distribution are correlated with social trust. The analysis is done at the income decile level using individual response data from the World Values Survey. While the analysis is limited by the availability and reliability of the underlying data, the results suggest that neither redistribution nor growth alone is sufficient to raise a low-trust country to a position of medium or high trust. Rather, using the parameters estimated in this paper, a combination of growth with narrowing income distributions could, over a period of perhaps two decades, produce a significant change in levels of social trust.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1999. "The Ambiguous Impact of Inequality on Local Resource Management," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 773-788, May.
- Boyce, James K., 1994. "Inequality as a cause of environmental degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 169-178, December.
- Common,Michael, 1995. "Sustainability and Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521436052, December.
- Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey D. Milyo, 2001. "Income inequality and health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 151-155.
- Scruggs, Lyle A., 1998. "Political and economic inequality and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 259-275, September.
- Pelletier, Nathan, 2010. "Environmental sustainability as the first principle of distributive justice: Towards an ecological communitarian normative foundation for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1887-1894, August.
- Hausman, Daniel M., 2004. "Trust and Trustworthiness, by RUSSELL HARDIN. Russell Sage Foundation, 2002, xxi + 234 pages," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 240-246, April.
- Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2011. "Political regimes and income inequality," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 266-268.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33288. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.