August 2016

IZA DP No. 10176: Who Trusts Others? Community and Individual Determinants of Social Capital in a Low Income Country

published in: Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2017, 41(2): 515-544.

This study presents new evidence on individual and community-specific determinants of social trust using data from 96 villages in Bangladesh. We find perceived institutional trust to be positively correlated with stated inter-personal trust. At the same time, there is significant social distance among various faith groups in our data: both Hindus and Muslims trust their coreligionists more than they trust those from other religions. Hindus in districts bordering India trust non-Hindus significantly less, compared to those in interior regions, which suggests that the results do not simply capture the effect of minority/majority status. Trust towards non-Muslims is negatively correlated with Islamic school attendance among Muslim respondents, while religiosity tends not to play any role. Compared to religion, the effects of institutional trust and local economic development are modest. These findings are robust to control for a range of individual- and community-level correlates, and enumerator fixed-effects.