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Economic Inequality, Interpersonal Trust, and Support for Redistributive Policies in Latin America
Unformatted Document Text:  22 Additionally, Table 2 shows that these results hold even after taking into account individuals’ level of trust in government and ideological leaning. In sum, trusting individuals seem more likely to sympathize with the causes of economically disadvantaged groups regardless of their personal economic situation, degree of political trust, and ideology. It is also clear from these results that interpersonal trust rather than civic participation is the most important source of solidarity in Latin American countries, a result similar to Uslaner’s conclusion for the United States. Interestingly, once political trust and ideology are considered in the model, participation in any of the civic groups taken into account is not strongly linked to higher support for policies that benefit the poor. It is also interesting to see that political knowledge does not seem to play a role in the shaping of individuals’ support for redistribution. Above all the main determinant of support for redistributive policies is interpersonal trust. Conclusion By exploring the determinants of interpersonal trust, this research hopes to contribute to the disentangling of the mystery of how political attitudes are formed. This research shows that regardless of the role that political elites as well as psychological (Zaller 1992) and cultural factors (Inglehart 1997; Inglehart 2000) play in this process, real life experiences and the contextual characteristics of where individuals live shape citizens’ level of trust in others and in turn shapes other types of political attitudes, such as support for public policies that benefit disadvantaged groups. This study identifies Latin America’s high economic inequality as an important obstacle for the generation of interpersonal trust. Furthermore, low interpersonal trust was found to be associated with low support for those public policies that if implemented could improve the distribution of economic resources in Latin America. In sum, the results suggest a vicious circle

Authors: Cordova, Abby.
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22
Additionally, Table 2 shows that these results hold even after taking into account
individuals’ level of trust in government and ideological leaning. In sum, trusting individuals
seem more likely to sympathize with the causes of economically disadvantaged groups
regardless of their personal economic situation, degree of political trust, and ideology. It is also
clear from these results that interpersonal trust rather than civic participation is the most
important source of solidarity in Latin American countries, a result similar to Uslaner’s
conclusion for the United States. Interestingly, once political trust and ideology are considered in
the model, participation in any of the civic groups taken into account is not strongly linked to
higher support for policies that benefit the poor. It is also interesting to see that political
knowledge does not seem to play a role in the shaping of individuals’ support for redistribution.
Above all the main determinant of support for redistributive policies is interpersonal trust.

Conclusion
By exploring the determinants of interpersonal trust, this research hopes to contribute to
the disentangling of the mystery of how political attitudes are formed. This research shows that
regardless of the role that political elites as well as psychological (Zaller 1992) and cultural
factors (Inglehart 1997; Inglehart 2000) play in this process, real life experiences and the
contextual characteristics of where individuals live shape citizens’ level of trust in others and in
turn shapes other types of political attitudes, such as support for public policies that benefit
disadvantaged groups.
This study identifies Latin America’s high economic inequality as an important obstacle
for the generation of interpersonal trust. Furthermore, low interpersonal trust was found to be
associated with low support for those public policies that if implemented could improve the
distribution of economic resources in Latin America. In sum, the results suggest a vicious circle


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