The autocratic roots of social distrust

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Journal of Comparative Economics, ISSN: 0147-5967, Vol: 46, Issue: 1, Page: 362-380

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Xu Xu; Xin Jin
Elsevier BV
Economics, Econometrics and Finance
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article description
This paper presents evidence that autocratic culture adversely affects social trust and political participation. We find that individuals whose ancestors migrated from countries with higher autocracy levels are less likely to trust others and to vote in presidential elections in the U.S. The impact of autocratic culture on trust can last for at least three generations while the impact on voting disappears after one generation. These impacts on trust and voting are also significant across Europe. We further access the robustness of our findings concerning selection into migration and other confounders such as home countries’ economic conditions, human capital stocks, and the strength of family ties.