John Helliwell, 06 September 2016

Discussions about inequality tend to focus on the distribution of income and wealth. This column argues for a shift in focus towards another source of inequality – subjective wellbeing. Wellbeing inequality has grown significantly for the world as a whole and in eight of the ten global regions. One way to address this inequality is to increase social trust.

Eleonora Patacchini , Pierre Picard, Yves Zenou, 20 July 2015

Little is known about how social interactions are affected by geographical distance. This column argues that students tend to interact more with those who are highly central in the network of social contacts, and who are geographically closer. Geographical distance is then a hinder to social interactions. 

Maxim Ananyev, Sergei Guriev, 08 February 2015

The negative effects of recessions are not limited to consumption. Among others, they could also be harmful to preferences and values. This column uses recent evidence from Russia to argue that recessions can result in a sizeable decrease in interpersonal trust. This effect is transient in places where the fall in trust is small. In these regions, trust snaps back to pre-crisis levels as GDP recovers. In the places where fall in trust is large, the effect is persistent. Even after a recovery, trust remains 10 percentage points below the pre-crisis level.

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.

Yves Zenou, Jackline Wahba, 19 August 2012

Are return migrants more likely to become entrepreneurs than non-migrants? This column, using data from Egypt, argues that although migrants lose their social networks while they are overseas, the savings and human capital accumulation that they acquire abroad more than compensate for this loss. This makes return migrants more likely to start businesses.

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.

Martin Halla, Franz Hackl, Gerald Pruckner, 21 February 2009

Why do individuals volunteer? This seemingly personal question is not fully explained by individual characteristics. This column examines the state’s capability to affect individuals' decisions to volunteer. Macroeconomic stability increases volunteering, but higher confidence in government and democratisation reduce participation.

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