The Role of Public Trust in People's Subjective Well-Being

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Paper Abstract: 
Kenneth Arrow, perhaps the most influential economist after John Maynard Keynes in the 20th century, viewed trust as a lubricant that fosters cooperative behaviour and thus facilitates mutually advantageous economic exchanges in the presence of incomplete contracts and imperfect information. Recent research has confirmed the beneficial effects of trust in government on economic performance. The obverse, that an erosion of trust in public institutions (state, judiciary and police) has deleterious effects on economic performance, is equally true. Various recent accounts do not just corroborate an erosion of trust in governance, but also point to the imperative of strengthening it to break out of the deep recession that India’s economy is in. The fiscal stimulus has been too little, too late.