Social Traps and the Problem of Trust (Theories of by Bo Rothstein

By Bo Rothstein

Bo Rothstein explores how social capital and social belief are generated and what governments can do approximately it. A 'social catch' is a scenario the place participants, teams or businesses are not able to cooperate as a result of mutual mistrust and absence of social capital, even the place cooperation would get advantages all. Examples contain civil strife, pervasive corruption, ethnic discrimination, depletion of normal assets and misuse of social coverage platforms. a lot has been written trying to clarify the matter, yet a little less fabric is out there on the right way to get away it.

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As an expert on economic conditions in Latin America expressed it: I don’t think there is any more vital issue in Latin America right now . . It’s a vicious cycle that is very hard to break. People don’t want to pay taxes because they say government doesn’t deliver services, but government institutions aren’t going to perform any better until they have resources, which they obtain when people pay their taxes. (Rother 1999) The usual but simplistic answer to this problem (and to my Russian bureaucrat) is that the government needs to introduce “the rule of law” type of institution.

By “fixing the incentives” in this way, standard economic theory tells us that the problem would be solved. It’s simple, just increase the negative pay-off for cheating and corruption (including the risk of being caught) to a point where the fear of being caught would be higher than the greed that led agents to engage in tax fraud and corruption. When society is constructed so that fear is larger than greed, things go well. But as has been argued by Pranab Bardhan, Michael Hechter, Mark Lichbach, and Gary Miller, for example, accomplishing this is not easy, because constructing such an institution is in itself a collective action/social trap problem (Bardhan 1997; Miller 1992).

Edu/. ” Increased participation in voluntary associations can thus not be seen as a remedy for societies that have fallen into social traps. I dare to say that the policy implications of this result are of some significance. Instead of blaming the citizens for not being active in voluntary associations and not getting involved in civil society, this shifts the burden for societal malaise to the political system and the political elite. The argument is that it is governments that are to blame for low levels of “social capital” because of their failure to establish universal and trustworthy political institutions.

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