Distrust and Political Turnover During Economic Crises
70 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2018 Last revised: 4 Aug 2021
Date Written: January 2018
We use a six-decade long annual country-level panel dataset to document that recessions are more likely to cause political turnover in countries with lower levels of generalized trust. The effect is only present in democracies (not autocracies), for turnovers occurring through regular procedures (not coups), and during scheduled election years. We find similar effects for vote shares in national elections across sub-national regions within Europe and across counties within the United States. Furthermore, countries with higher trust experience more rapid recoveries from recessions. The results show that trust is an important determinant of political stability during recessions.
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