On the Determinants of Social Trust in the United States

45 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2008

See all articles by Christian Bjørnskov

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: September 10, 2008

Abstract

This paper explores the determinants of social trust, as measured by perceived honesty, in 48 US states across three periods. The results show support for the detrimental effects of income inequality but no or little support for a set of popular alternative theories. The trust decline in recent decades is found to have been a consequence of increasing social polarization and the natural decline of the most trusting age cohorts. Residual trust has increased since the early 1970s, giving rise to markedly different policy implications than those forwarded in most studies in the trust literature.

Keywords: Social Trust, Inequality, Panel Data

JEL Classification: D31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Bjørnskov, Christian, On the Determinants of Social Trust in the United States (September 10, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1266370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1266370

Christian Bjørnskov (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

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