• English
  • Italiano
Leigh, A. (2004). Does Equality Lead to Fraternity? Harvard University, PhD Thesis

Andrew Leigh

Chapter 2 of a thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the subject of Public Policy, Harvard University, May 2004

May 2004


In understanding the relationship between inequality and trust across countries, it is also necessary to consider the effect of ethnic, religious and linguistic fractionalization. Using only high-quality inequality data, and a new dataset on fractionalization, I analyze a group of sixteen mostly OECD countries. Both inequality and fractionalization are negatively associated with trust, and when both are included in the model, inequality is the more significant factor. Using instrumental variables, I show that a one standard deviation increase in inequality (a 6 point rise in the gini) causes a 13 percentage point fall in trust. Both rich and poor people tend to be less trusting in unequal countries, and little of the effect seems to be related to crime.

Information on the author

Dr Andrew Leigh is an economist in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. His current research is in the fields of labour economics, public finance and political economy. He holds a PhD from Harvard University, and has previously worked as a lawyer, a political adviser, and a think-tank researcher. He has published over 20 journal articles, 50 opinion pieces and 2 books.

Related works

Trust, Inequality, and Ethnic Heterogeneity, Economic Record, forthcoming 2006

Lies and Statistics (on trust and diversity), Australian Financial Review, 23 July 2005

Does Equality Lead to Fraternity?, Shorter revised version, July 2005

Costello's call on social capital, Canberra Times, 24 July 2003

Political vision required to spur a new kind of public spirit, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 February 2002

Reviving Community: What policy-makers can do to build social capital in Britain and America (with Robert Putnam). Renewal. 10(2). 2002

Bowling Along. Australian Policy Online. May 2002


Leigh, Andrew

A father of two sons, Sebastian and Theodore, Andrew lives with his wife Gweneth in Hackett. Prior to being elected in 2010 as the federal member for Fraser, Andrew was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. Andrew has written extensively on a range of subjects, including...


Australian National University, Research School of Economics

The Research School of Economics was created in 2010 by merging the former School of Economics, the Economics Program in the Research School of Social Sciences and the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis. Uniting these institutes has created an outstanding group of scholars with expertise...

Upcoming events

No events in the list.