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Economic conditions and transnational trust: does money matter?

Krüger, Sabine (2013) Economic conditions and transnational trust: does money matter?

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Abstract:In the context of European social integration, border regions play a crucial role. Being the place where neighbouring populations meet, they are often seen as catalysts of trust, enabling contact and cross-border exchange. At the same time, border residents are the bearers of possible negative consequences of open borders. As the enlarged European Union is characterised by marked standards of living, this study analyses trust between neighbours in European border regions.The aims of the study are twofold: firstly, analyse the relationship between economic indicators on national level with trust in the neighbour country, and secondly, taking into account the special nature of border regions, whether border residents’ trust in the neighbour country is rather driven by economic considerations or cross-border contacts. The central research question is formulated as follows: ‘Under which economic circumstances does contact lead to trust in the neighbour country?’ Two competing hypotheses are formulated based on the literature: H1: The level of transnational trust in the neighbouring country is on average higher in border regions than in the rest of the country. H2 (When there are marked differences in the standards of living between two countries): The level of transnational trust in the neighbouring country is on average lower in border regions than in the rest of the country. Four economic indicators are used to compare neighbour countries with different standards of living: the Gross Domestic Product per capita in purchasing power parities (where EU average=100), the national unemployment rate, hourly labour costs and the GINI score of each country. The dependent variable, trust, is measured by a survey question asking for trust in different populations, taken from the European Election Study of 2004. Variables are created to distinguish between border regions and rest of a country. The mean trust differences between them are compared and statistically analysed using one-way ANOVA tests. The results show that contact does not automatically result in higher trust. The results of the analysis are inconclusive and do not produce enough evidence to confirm the contact hypothesis. Regarding the competition hypothesis, we find that economic differences do not lower trust in border regions, at the opposite, trust differences between border regions and the rest of a country increase with economic differences. However, marked differences in labour costs and income inequality are significantly related to lower national trust rates.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:83 economics
Programme:European Studies BSc (56627)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63068
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