Distrust and Political Turnover


Nunn N, Qian N, Wen J. Distrust and Political Turnover. Working Paper.
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This paper documents an important channel through which culture can affect politics. Using an annual country-level panel that covers six decades, we show that economic downturns are more likely to cause political turnover in countries that have lower levels of generalized trust. The effect is strongest for turnovers occurring through regular procedures and during scheduled election years. The effect is much weaker and generally insignificant in non- democratic countries and for irregular turnovers such as military coups. We replicate our cross-country findings within the United States by looking at cross-county variation in trust, national recessions, and incumbent party vote-share in Presidential elections. Consistent with our cross-national findings, recessions cause a greater decline in the incumbent party vote share in counties with lower levels of generalized trust.


Last updated on 07/08/2020