Generalized Trust, Preferences for Redistribution and Institutions
HSE International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development (ICSID) and NES Center for the Study of Diversity and Social Interactions held the first in the new 2019 year joint Research Seminar on Diversity and Development on February 6, 2019.
The invited speaker was Koen Schoors, Professor at the Ghent University (Belgium). He presented his paper "Generalized Trust, Preferences for Redistribution and Institutions" (co-authored by Ekaterina Borisova and Denis Ivanov).
Abstract: We study how institutional quality moderates the relationship between generalized trust and preferences for redistribution. It has been well established in the literature that generalized trust is conducive to greater support for redistribution because it reduces expectations of cheating and free-riding among others. Following Algan et al. (2016), we hypothesize that the effect of trust on preferences for redistribution is conditional on the quality of the institutional environment. Trusting individuals, that is, are hypothesized to be more supportive of redistribution in favor of target groups with a high propensity of free-riding (like the poor and the unemployed) if the institutional environment is more likely to detect and penalize free-riders. We test this hypothesis with data from the Life in Transition II survey that contains 38,000 thousand respondents from 35 transition and developed countries. We find that the effect of individual trust on supporting redistribution in favor of the poor and the unemployed depends indeed on the quality of the formal institutions in the environment, like the country-level control of corruption, the rule of law and government effectiveness. Trust and formal institutions are therefore complements with respect to their effect on preferences for redistribution. This relationship is not observed for groups conventionally thought of as unambiguously deserving or delineated with free-riding proof eligibility criteria, i.e. for the old, the disabled, and families with children. Additionally we find that trust under good institutions is associated indicating all beneficiary groups as deserving support.
As usual, the event was held jointly with the seminar “Political Economy”.