Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Trust, assocational life, and economic performance

Knack, Stephen (2001): Trust, assocational life, and economic performance. Published in: The contribution of human and social capital to sustained economic growth and well-being (2001): pp. 172-202.

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Assuming that J. S. Mill and others are correct in their belief that trust matters for the economic performance of nations, the determinants of trust become important. Section 2 discusses the sources of trust and briefly summarizes empirical evidence. Section 3 builds on Fukuyama’s concept of the “radius of trust” to identify the type of trust which should be advantageous to national economic performance. Section 4 addresses measurement issues. Evidence on trust and economic performance relies heavily on the use of a single survey indicator of trust: in light of the potential for translation problems and other sources of measurement error, can this indicator be trusted? Section 5 presents empirical evidence on trust and economic performance, for a 25-nation OECD sample and for a larger 40-country sample. Section 6 presents evidence on the relationship between associational life and economic performance, testing the conflicting theoretical perspectives of Putnam (1993) and Olson (1982). Section 7 briefly concludes.

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