Trust in Community and Free Rider

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:18
Location: Hörsaal 27 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Kazuto MISUMI, Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
Trust is believed to contribute on escape from the free rider problem. However, considering the discussion based on threshold models of social dilemmas, if we assume that an actor’s cognitive threshold for cooperating is related with trust, it is possible to say that trust should enhance free rider. This is because an actor will be more likely to stay as a free rider (namely, to have a high threshold) when they trust in community for its ability to provide public goods. Trust of this kind is close to trust in abstract systems, and as Giddens suggests, it is based on trust in interpersonal relationships. Then, we need to explore how trust in community and general trust are related to each other, and how these two kinds of trust determine people’s cooperative behaviors. Considering the case of residential community and utilizing survey data, in this study we make an empirical approach to these questions. At first, by conducting principal component analysis for the variables like neighborhood evaluations and trust at the municipality levels, we extract two components: trust in community and residential attachment. We additionally extract two components through the similar analysis for the variables relevant to participation in community events; voluntary participation and free riding participation. (The latter indicates participation only in joyful events.) Multiple-regression analysis shows while trust in community strongly determines voluntary participation, it also enhances free riding participation. In both cases, the effects of general trust seem to be observed in the effect of trust in community. Thus our results suggest that general trust and trust in community are not necessarily complementary to each other in order to enhance community participation, and that trust in community could strengthen both cooperation and free riding at the same time. We will further discuss the meaning these paradoxical results imply.