NBER Working Paper No. 5864
Issued in December 1996
Published: American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, May 1997. citation courtesy of
Several authors suggest that trust is an important determinant of cooperation between strangers in a society, and therefore of performance of social institutions. We argue that trust should be particularly important for the performance of large organizations. In a cross-section of countries, evidence on government performance, participation in civic and professional societies, importance of large firms, and the performance of social institutions more generally supports this hypothesis. Moreover, trust is lower in countries with dominant hierarchical religions, which may have deterred networks of cooperation trust hold up remarkably well on a cross-section of countries.