Public Choice

, Volume 157, Issue 3, pp 641–669

Is trust the missing root of institutions, education, and development?


DOI: 10.1007/s11127-013-0069-7

Cite this article as:
Bjørnskov, C. & Méon, PG. Public Choice (2013) 157: 641. doi:10.1007/s11127-013-0069-7


We report evidence that trust is the missing root relating education, institutions, and economic development. We observe that more trust both increases education and improves legal and bureaucratic institutions, which in turn spurs economic development. We substantiate this intuition with a series of regressions that provide evidence that trust determines both education and the quality of institutions, and that education and institutions in turn affect GDP per capita.


Development Social trust Institutions Education 

JEL Classification

O43 O47 O57 Z13 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and BusinessAarhus UniversityAarhus VDenmark
  2. 2.Centre Emile BernheimUniversité libre de Bruxelles (ULB)BruxellesBelgium

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