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On changes in general trust in Europe

  • Javier Olivera

    (UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

This paper analyses the determinants of trust in a pool of 33 European countries over the period 2002-2010. We find that income inequality is negatively related with trust when we analyse pooled data of individuals, which is a well established result if one focuses on crosscountry differences. But, this relation vanishes when we estimate a fixed effects model with the data collapsed by country and year. Omitted variables may account for the significant and negative relationship between economic inequality and trust at the cross-sectional level. In contrast, we find a sizeable, negative and significant effect of the share of persons from minority ethnic groups on trust. This result is found in different specifications for the trust index and distribution of trust.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201301.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201301.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 28 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201301
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  1. Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Does Equality Lead to Fraternity?," CEPR Discussion Papers 513, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  2. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk & Henri L.F. de Groot & Anton B.T.M. van Schaik, 2004. "Trust and economic growth: a robustness analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 118-134, January.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  4. Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Trust, Inequality and Ethnic Heterogeneity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 268-280, 09.
  5. Gustavsson, Magnus & Jordahl, Henrik, 2006. "Inequality and Trust in Sweden: Some Inequalities are More Harmful than Others," Working Paper Series 673, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. Christian Bjørnskov, 2007. "Determinants of generalized trust: A cross-country comparison," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 1-21, January.
  7. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik, 2005. "Free to Trust? Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Working Paper Series 2005:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  8. Justina A.V. Fischer & Benno Torgler, 2013. "Do Positional Concerns Destroy Social Capital: Evidence From 26 Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1542-1565, 04.
  9. Sander Steijn & Bram Lancee, 2011. "GINI DP 20: Does Income Inequality Negatively Affect General Trust? Examining three potential problems with the inequality-trust hypothesis," GINI Discussion Papers 20, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  10. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  11. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk & Henri L.F. de Groot & Anton B.T.M. van Schaik, 2002. "Trust and Economic Growth," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-049/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
  13. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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