Trust in Transition: Cross-country and Firm Evidence
This paper uses data from a large survey of firms across 26 transition countries to examine the determinants of trust in the transition process. We first introduce a new measure of trust between firms: the level of prepayment demanded by suppliers from their customers in advance of delivery. Using this new measure, we confirm earlier findings that trust is higher where firms have confidence in third party enforcement through the legal system. However, the fairness and honesty of the courts are more important determinants of inter-firm trust than the courts’ efficiency or ability to enforce decisions. We then examine the role of business networks in building trust and find that networks based around personal ties – family and friends – and business associations actively promote the development of trust, while business networks based on enterprise insiders and government agencies do not. Finally, we find that country-level effects are significantly more important determinants of inter-firm trust than firm-level effects.
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