Social Trust and Demand for Redistribution. Is There a Crowding out Effect?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:36
Location: Hörsaal 27 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Antonio M. JAIME-CASTILLO, University of Malaga, Spain
The debate about the relationship between social capital the welfare state has produced contradictory results for a long time. The crowding out hypothesis states that the growth of the welfare state would erode social capital, as the action of the state leave no room for non-regulated spontaneous cooperation. In sharp contrast, the crowding in hypothesis states that there is virtuous circle between the size of the welfare state and the stock of social capital in a particular country, since generous welfare states (specially those relying on universalistic programs) will produce a particular sense of fairness and solidarity toward fellow citizens. Yet, the empirical evidence testing the explanatory power of these theories is mostly inconclusive. To further our knowledge of this puzzle, in this paper I focus specifically on the relationship between social trust and preferences for redistribution at the individual level in a sample of European countries belonging to different welfare state regimes. In order to overcome the potential problems of endogeneity between social trust and redistributive preferences, and departing from previous studies, I use an instrumental variables approach. Results indicate that social trust has a negative impact on preferences for redistribution but this relationship varies substantially across institutional settings.