Trust and the welfare state: The twin-peaked curve
Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, Marc Sangnier, 17 July 2014
It is commonly argued that the persistence of large welfare states in Scandinavian countries is due to the trustworthiness of their citizens. This column shows that the relationship between trust and the size of the welfare state is twin peaked. Untrustworthy individuals support generous welfare states because they expect to benefit without bearing the costs, whereas civic-minded individuals only support generous welfare states when surrounded by people they trust.
It is commonly argued that the persistence of large welfare states in Scandinavian countries is explained by the trustworthiness of their citizens. Those large welfare states presumably rely on conditional cooperation.
Topics: Welfare state and social Europe
Tags: cheating, social capital, trust, welfare state
Trust-based working time spurs innovation
Holger Görg, Olivier N. Godart, Aoife Hanley, Christiane Krieger-Boden, 8 July 2014
Many firms are replacing traditional working hours with more flexible arrangements, reflecting new thinking on employee motivation. This column presents evidence from Germany that trust-based working time is associated with increased innovation. However, trust-based working hours also contribute to the blurring of workers’ professional and private lives, and may lead to excessive overtime. Careful design of trust-based working arrangements is required to reap the innovations gains while avoiding the health pitfalls.
The organisation of work has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In particular, the formerly rigidly regulated working time has been replaced by flexible working hour schemes in numerous firms around the world. Taking Germany as an example, in 2010, 36% of employees were entitled to some form of flexible working hours scheme (Figure 1).
Topics: Health economics, Labour markets, Productivity and Innovation
Tags: flexibility, Germany, health, innovation, motivation, overtime, trust, working hours, working time
Will voters turn out in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections?
Owen McDougall, Ashoka Mody, 17 May 2014
Turnout in the 2014 European Parliament elections is seen as a critical test for EU democracy. This column presents some predictions. Trust in the ECB – rather than in the European Parliament itself – has been associated with higher turnout in previous elections. Macroeconomic conditions are also important – where a country’s fiscal problems are greater, voters are more inclined to vote.
The extent of voter turnout in the 2014 European Parliamentary (EP) election is widely viewed as a critical test for European democracy. Turnout in the EP elections has steadily declined over three decades, from 62% in the first election in 1979 to 43% in the 2009 election (EP Liaison Office undated).
Topics: EU institutions, Politics and economics
Tags: democracy, ECB, elections, EU, European parliament, trust, turnout, voting
New evidence on the durability of social norms
John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu, 12 March 2014
Social norms have been shown to have important effects on economic outcomes. This column discusses new evidence showing that social norms are deeply rooted in long-standing cultures, but do evolve in reaction to major changes. It draws on a fully global sample involving migrants in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll.
Recent studies find that individuals’ social norms – as evidenced by their opinions and behaviour – can be transmitted from one generation to the next within the same cultural setting (Algan and Cahuc 2010, Bjørnskov 2012, Dohmen et al. 2012, Guiso et al. 2006, Rainer and Siedler 2009, Rice and Feldman 1997).
Topics: Frontiers of economic research, Migration
Tags: Culture, immigration, institutions, migration, social attitudes, social norms, trust
Global and Eurozone imbalances: A question of civic capital?
Sascha Bützer, Christina Jordan, Livio Stracca, 23 November 2013
Since the advent of the Eurozone sovereign-debt crisis, economic commentators have drawn attention to macroeconomic imbalances within the Eurozone. This column presents evidence on the link between macroeconomic imbalances and differences in culture – or more specifically, interpersonal trust. A conservative estimatation suggests that a one standard-deviation increase in trust reduces macroeconomic imbalances by about a quarter of a standard deviation. Moreover, differences in interpersonal trust can explain a fifth of the variation in intra-Eurozone imbalances.
Macroeconomic imbalances have been the subject of much debate in recent years, and are still in the spotlight. Before and during the financial crisis, a lot of attention was devoted to global imbalances – in particular to the persistent current-account deficits of some countries (such as the US) and the persistent surpluses of others (such as China).
Topics: Europe's nations and regions, International trade
Tags: civic capital, eurozone, global imbalances, trust, World Values Survey
Unemployment, labour-market flexibility and IMF advice: Moving beyond mantras
Olivier Blanchard, Florence Jaumotte, Prakash Loungani, 18 October 2013
The state of labour markets in advanced economies remains dismal despite recent signs of growth. This column explains the IMF’s logic behind the advice it provided on labour markets during the Great Recession. It argues that flexibility is crucial both at the micro level, i.e. on worker reallocation, and at the macro level, e.g. on collective agreements. It suggests that the IMF approach is close to the consensus among labour-market researchers.
Growth in advanced economies is gaining some speed. The IMF projects these economies will grow 2% next year, up from an expected 1.2% this year. The average unemployment rate in advanced economies is expected to inch down from its peak of 8.3% in 2010 to 8% next year. This is progress, but it is clearly not enough. The state of labour markets remains dismal for a number of reasons.
Topics: Labour markets, Welfare state and social Europe
Tags: collective bargaining, EZ crisis, IMF, institutions, labour-market flexibility, trust, unemployment, Unemployment insurance
Understanding trust: The role of false consensus
Jeffrey V. Butler, Paola Giuliano, Luigi Guiso, 18 December 2012
Trust among strangers is at the heart of well-functioning market economics. This column argues that individual trust beliefs are related to individual trustworthiness, which in turn is related to the values parents transmit to their children. It adds that if someone forms trust beliefs about unknown people by attributing to others his own trustworthiness, he is bound to make mistakes by being either too naïve or too wary.
Every day millions of people deal with others they know nothing or very little about. A Norwegian tourist buys a carpet in Casablanca. A woman in Mexico City hails a cab on the street. A person with a never-before-experienced eye pain asks an ophthalmologist for advice.
Topics: Frontiers of economic research
Tags: Culture, false consensus, trust
Crisis and public support for the euro
Felix Roth, Lars Jonung, Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann, 5 November 2012
The Eurozone crisis has meant slow growth, rising unemployment, and social unrest. This column gauges the impact of all this on European citizens‘ opinions about the euro and EU institutions. Using Eurobarometer surveys, the authors find that, within the Eurozone, the crisis has only marginally lowered support for the euro but has led to a sharp fall in public trust in the ECB.
The euro is a unique currency in at least two ways. It is the first time that a group of democratic countries have abolished their national currencies and replaced them with a single currency that is managed by a common central bank, the ECB. The euro is also unique in that data on public attitudes towards the euro have been collected for more than 20 years (Eurobarometer 2012).
Topics: EU institutions, Europe's nations and regions
Tags: euro, Eurozone crisis, public opinion, trust
Teaching practices and social capital
Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, Andrei Shleifer, 24 October 2011
Can trust be taught in the classroom? The authors of CEPR DP8625 present evidence that progressive or 'horizontal' teaching methods can help children develop beliefs that reinforce social capital, with broad benefits for society and the economy overall.
Vox readers can download CEPR Discussion Paper 8625 for free here. To learn more about subscribing to CEPR's Discussion Paper Series, please visit the CEPR website.
Journalists are entitled to free DP downloads on request; please contact email@example.com. To learn more about subscribing to CEPR's Discussion Paper Series, please visit the CEPR website.
Tags: education, interpersonal cooperation, progressive eduction, social capital, teaching practices, trust
How the long-gone Habsburg Empire is still visible in Eastern European bureaucracies today
Sascha O Becker, Ludger Woessmann, 31 May 2011
For centuries, Europe was ruled by empires wielding global influence. This column shows that these empires can leave behind a long-lasting legacy through cultural norms. Comparing individuals on opposite sides of the long-gone Habsburg Empire border within five countries, it shows that firms and people living in what used to be the empire have higher trust in courts and police.
Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom emphasised that trust in the key institutions of the state, and their proper functioning, is crucial in facilitating collective action (Ostrom 1998). The courts and the police as the enforcers of rules in collective action have a crucial role to play in supporting trust in interactions between citizens and the state.
Topics: Economic history, Europe's nations and regions, Frontiers of economic research, Institutions and economics
Tags: Corruption, economic institutions, Habsburg Empire, trust