A Political Model of Trust

24 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020 Last revised: 1 Mar 2021

See all articles by Marina Agranov

Marina Agranov

California Institute of Technology

Ran Eilat

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

We analyze a model of political competition, in which the uninformed median voter chooses whether to follow or ignore the advice of the elite that forms endogenously to aggregate information. In equilibrium, information transmission is possible only if voters trust the elite's endorsement of potentially biased candidates. When inequality is high, the elite's informational advantage is minimized by the voters' distrust. When inequality reaches a certain threshold, the trust, and thus the information transmission, breaks down completely. Finally, the elite size and thus the extent of information aggregation depends on the amount of trust they can maintain.

JEL Classification: D72, D83

Suggested Citation

Agranov, Marina and Eilat, Ran and Sonin, Konstantin, A Political Model of Trust (April 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14672, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3594305

Marina Agranov (Contact Author)

California Institute of Technology ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hss.caltech.edu/~magranov/

Ran Eilat

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

Be'er Sheva
8410501
Israel

Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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