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Economic Inequality, Interpersonal Trust, and Support for Redistributive Policies in Latin America
Unformatted Document Text:  6 of dissidents and homosexuals (Seligson, Córdova and Moreno 2007; Cordova 2008). Similarly, Uslaner (2002) finds that in the United States, “trusters are tolerant of people who are different from themselves. Not only do they give of their own time and money to help the less fortunate, but they also support governmental policies to redress social and economic inequalities” (192). Taken into account these findings, in this research I expect trusting individuals in Latin America to be more likely to support the implementation of redistributive policies, regardless of their economic status. Thus, I expect that in the presence of interpersonal trust even those who do not benefit directly from such policies, namely the relatively rich, to be likely to show high support for redistributive programs. In contrast to Putnam’s (1993; 2000) social capital theory, Uslaner (2002) claims that interpersonal trust, rather than civic participation, is the component of social capital that consistently leads to all kinds of positive political outcomes. According to Putnam, besides its positive effects for the polity as a whole, civic associations serve as “schools for democracy,” as Tocqueville noted in the nineteenth century in the United States, because participation in the “schools” has positive “internal effects on participants themselves” (Putnam 2000 338), contributing to the establishment of a democratic political culture. Uslaner suggests that too much has been attributed to civic participation as such and that more attention should be paid to interpersonal trust. In this paper, I test the effect of interpersonal trust on support for redistributive policies taking into account competing explanatory factors, including civic participation. Besides interpersonal trust and civic participation, ideology is also likely to play a role in extent of citizens’ support for policies aimed to reduce the gap between rich and poor. By definition, individuals at the right of the ideology continuum are expected to be less likely to

Authors: Cordova, Abby.
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of dissidents and homosexuals (Seligson, Córdova and Moreno 2007; Cordova 2008). Similarly,
Uslaner (2002) finds that in the United States,
“trusters are tolerant of people who are different from themselves. Not only do they give of
their own time and money to help the less fortunate, but they also support governmental policies
to redress social and economic inequalities” (192).

Taken into account these findings, in this research I expect trusting individuals in Latin
America to be more likely to support the implementation of redistributive policies, regardless of
their economic status. Thus, I expect that in the presence of interpersonal trust even those who do
not benefit directly from such policies, namely the relatively rich, to be likely to show high
support for redistributive programs.
In contrast to Putnam’s (1993; 2000) social capital theory, Uslaner (2002) claims that
interpersonal trust, rather than civic participation, is the component of social capital that
consistently leads to all kinds of positive political outcomes. According to Putnam, besides its
positive effects for the polity as a whole, civic associations serve as “schools for democracy,” as
Tocqueville noted in the nineteenth century in the United States, because participation in the
“schools” has positive “internal effects on participants themselves” (Putnam 2000 338),
contributing to the establishment of a democratic political culture. Uslaner suggests that too
much has been attributed to civic participation as such and that more attention should be paid to
interpersonal trust. In this paper, I test the effect of interpersonal trust on support for
redistributive policies taking into account competing explanatory factors, including civic
participation.
Besides interpersonal trust and civic participation, ideology is also likely to play a role in
extent of citizens’ support for policies aimed to reduce the gap between rich and poor. By
definition, individuals at the right of the ideology continuum are expected to be less likely to


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