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Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Gender and Social (Dis)Trust: Results from a Global Field Experiment

Salma Mousa (Yale University)

Tuesday 07 February 2023 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

Social trust is considered key for social, political, and economic development. But what does social trust look like in the real world? Who trusts whom, and with what? We seek to answer these questions using data from n=21,000 randomized interactions in 7 countries across the world: Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the U.S. These interactions measure patterns of cooperation among strangers from different social groups. With a team of confederates, we randomly select pedestrians, and manipulate: (1) the type of interaction they are faced with — and thus the level of trust required (dropping groceries, asking for directions, asking to borrow a cell phone); (2) the confederates’ gender; (3) the confederates’ ethnicity; and (4) the confederates’ socio-economic status. In every country, in every experiment, gender is the strongest determinant of both trust and trustworthiness --- far outweighing the roles of class or ethnicity. We find that women are much less likely to trust strangers --- even other women --- relative to men. This result runs counter to a robust result from lab games and surveys, showing that women are more trusting than men. We propose that safety concerns and regressive social norms drive this result. We discuss the implications of the gender gap in social trust for building broader social cohesion.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: