High trust and low trust societies

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A low trust society is defined as one in which interpersonal trust is relatively low, and which do not have shared ethical values.[1]

Institutions and mechanisms

According to researchers, low trust societies are typically kinship based;[1] outcomes of low trust societies can include difficulty in forming and maintaining corporate structures.[2] Mechanisms and institutions that are corrupted, dysfunctional, or absent in low-trust societies include respect for private property rights, a trusted civil court system, democratic voting and acceptance of electoral outcomes, and voluntary tax payment.[3] Research has identified a correlation between individualism with high-trust societies, and collectivism with low-trust cultures.[4]

Self governance

High-trust societies display a high degree of mutual trust not imposed by outside "contractual, legal or hierarchical regulation", but instead are based upon "prior moral consensus".[1] Much writing on the subject refers to Francis Fukuyama's 1995 book, Trust: Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity, in which he describes "the ability of various peoples to organize effectively for commercial purposes without relying on blood ties or government intervention".[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Natale, Hoffman & Hayward 1998, p. 35.
  2. Govier 1997, p. 132.
  3. Rose 2011, p. 196.
  4. Hopkins 2012, p. 120.
  5. TRUST by Francis Fukuyama.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>