A sticky trait: Social trust among Swedish expatriates in countries with varying institutional quality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Social trust is linked to many desirable economic and social outcomes. Using new data from a representative sample of 2668 Swedish expatriates, we examine the robustness of high social trust in countries with different levels of institutional quality. The results suggest that individual trust decreases with length of stay in countries with high corruption and low rule of law. The effect is relatively small and driven by expatriates who were aged 30 years or below upon arrival to the new country. While other studies have found that trust among migrants adapts to destination country trust levels, we find that after the (approximate) age of 30, high trust is a sticky personality trait. The results are robust to controlling for a large array of individual characteristics (including age) and support the view that social trust is sensitive to events that occur early in life.


External organisations
  • Linköping University
  • Research Institute of Industrial Economics
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • Social trust, institutions, corruption, rule of law
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1157
JournalJournal of Comparative Economics
Issue number4
Early online date2018 Jul 10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec
Publication categoryResearch