Making the Grade in Transition: Equality, Transparency, Trust, and Fairness

55 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2005

See all articles by Eric M. Uslaner

Eric M. Uslaner

University of Maryland, College Park; Institute for Corruption Studies

Gabriel Badescu

Babes-Bolyai University

Date Written: July 2004


Trust in both people and in government are in short supply in transition countries. Corruption is generally very high and the quality of the legal systems are also not high. First, we examine some aggregate data showing that transition countries with increasing inequality also are likely to have high levels of corruption, large informal sectors, and unfair legal systems. We then move to an examination of Romanian public opinion in a survey conducted in 2003. There we estimate a multiple equation model linking perceptions of increasing inequality to less confidence for the future, the perception of high-level corruption, less trust in both other people and government, and a demand to redistribute income away from the rich. We argue that this syndrome makes a successful transition to a market democracy difficult.

Keywords: trust, social capital, informal sector, transition

JEL Classification: Z13, D63, E26, P26

Suggested Citation

Uslaner, Eric M. and Badescu, Gabriel, Making the Grade in Transition: Equality, Transparency, Trust, and Fairness (July 2004). Available at SSRN: or

Eric M. Uslaner (Contact Author)

University of Maryland, College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
+1301 405 4151 (Phone)
+1301 314 9690 (Fax)

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Gabriel Badescu

Babes-Bolyai University ( email )

58-60 Teodor Maniu street, Cluj-Napoca
67 Iuliu Maniu street, Sighetu Marmatiei
Cluj 435500

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