Wednesday, 19 March 2014

My letter to the Washington Post

To the editor,

In a recent article in the Monkey Cage ('The real reason why millennials don't trust others', March 17), Eric Uslaner argues that "social trust rests on a foundation of economic equality", pointing out that "From 1966 to 2010, trust and inequality are strongly linked." His claim is that rising income inequality is one of the reasons why social trust has declined in the United States.

However, the latest research contradicts this claim. Fairbrother and Martin (2013, Soc. Sci. Res.) analysed data on both states and counties, and found no relationship between trust and inequality over time. To quote their abstract, "the declining trust of recent decades certainly cannot be attributed to rising inequality."

Many thanks,

Noah Carl,
Nuffield College, Oxford

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