The GLO Discussion Paper of the Month of April 2019 provides a historical explanation on within-country differences in levels of trust. Specifically, the paper finds that the lower trust levels present in former USSR countries can be traced back to the system of forced prison labor present during Stalin’s regime, which created terror and mass repression, causing individuals to lose trust in neighbors, institutions and society at large.
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs downloadable for free.
GLO Discussion Paper of the Month: April
by Nikolova, Milena & Popova, Olga & Otrachshenko, Vladimir
GLO Fellows Milena Nikolova and Olga Popova
Abstract: We show that current differences in trust levels within former Soviet Union countries can be traced back to the system of forced prison labor during Stalin’s rule, which was marked by high incarceration rates, repression, and harsh punishments. We argue that those exposed to forced labor camps (gulags) became less trusting and transferred this social norm to their descendants. Combining contemporary individual-level survey data with historical information on the location of forced labor camps, we find that individuals who live near former gulags have low levels of social and institutional trust. Our results are robust to a battery of sensitivity checks, which suggests that the relationship we document is causal. We outline several causal mechanisms and test whether the social norm of mistrust near gulags developed because of political repression or due to fear that inmates bring criminality. As such, we provide novel evidence on the channels through which history matters for current socio-economic outcomes today.
GLO Discussion Papers of April 2019
343 Intergenerational Mobility: An Assessment for Latin American Countries – Download PDF
by Doruk, Ömer Tuğsal & Yavuz, Hasan Bilgehan & Pastore, Francesco
342 The impact of Brexit on International Students’ Return Intentions – Download PDF
by Falkingham, Jane & Giulietti, Corrado & Wahba, Jackline & Wang, Chuhong
341 Labour mobility and interprovincial trade in Canada – Download PDF
by Aziz, Nusrate & Mahar, Gerry
340 Should I stay or should I go? Migration and job-skills mismatch among Italian doctoral recipients –Download PDF
by Alfano, Vincenzo & D’Uva, Marcella & De Simone, Elina & Gaeta, Giuseppe Lucio
GLO DP Team
Senior Editors: Matloob Piracha (University of Kent) & GLO; Klaus F. Zimmermann (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University and Bonn University).
Managing Editor: Magdalena Ulceluse, University of Groningen. DP@glabor.org