Institutions matter for trust. But it’s often difficult to cleanly estimate their causal impact. In this paper we analyze a field experiment in which a major institution—property rights—was randomly assigned. We develop theory around how changes in property rights ought to affect generalized trust via changes in levels and expectations of predation. We test this theory among a population of semi nomadic herders in Mongolia who have been assigned exclusive use rights to large plots of grazing land, or assigned to the status quo common use land situation. Our preliminary findings indicate that those in the property rights condition are significantly more trusting after a short period.
Daniel Rubenson is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, at Ryerson University. In addition to a PhD (Government) from the London School of Economics, he holds degrees from Lund University, Sweden.
Before joining Ryerson in 2006, Daniel Rubenson held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at l'Université de Montréal with the Canadian Election Study and the Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies. He teaches courses in comparative politics, political behaviour and research methods.