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Civic Honesty and Cultures of Trust

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Recent work in Cohn et al. (2019) shows that civic honesty and cooperative behaviour captured in a wallet-return experiment varies considerably across the world. Similarly, beliefs about social trust vary substantially as revealed by a multitude of cross-national questionnaire-based surveys. Previous studies have questioned whether survey-based measures correlate with honest and cooperative behaviour at the individual level. This paper uses the new data from Cohn et al. (2019) to test the association between cooperative behaviour and the trust culture captured in questionnaires. Comparisons of wallet return rates and questionnaire trust across 38 countries and 105 European regions show that experimental behaviour and social trust measured in questionnaires are strongly correlated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101693
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

    Research areas

  • Experiments, Social trust

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