Does Education Affect Trust? Evidence from Russia.

Timur Natkhov (Higher School of Economics)

Abstract: Using historical data on compulsory secondary school enrollment as an instrumental variable, we find that education is the strongest factor that affects the level of trust in regions across Russia. An increase of one standard deviation in the average education level in a region leads to an increase in trust of more than one standard deviation. For individuals, education is the strongest predictor of trust and civic activities, such as organizational participation. We also find that the likelihood of trust among less educated people depends only on the education level in their social environment. Conversely, for individuals with higher levels of education (13 years or more) the likelihood of trust depends both on their own education and their educational environment.

Download the paper