Understanding the consequences of global rises in inequality on governance regimes is one of the pressing challenges of our time. The main hypothesis driving the project is that trust is a key factor mediating how economic inequalities may affect governance outcomes.
Funded by the ESRC, this project brings together interdisciplinary partners to study how trust shapes the relationship between economic inequality and governance in contexts where democratic structures may be unstable or under threat. Dimensions of trust considered will include trust within social groups, trust between social groups, and trust in institutions.
Specifically, the project will build on theory and methodologies from multiple disciplines to provide new theoretical insights, to offer new comparative empirical evidence, to explore innovative measures of inequality, trust and governance outcomes, and to identify entry points to policy interventions.
The project will focus on three countries — Colombia, Mozambique and Pakistan — where democratic institutions have faced considerable challenges, including political violence. Comparisons will be made with Spain, where democratic governance is well established, but where economic pressures in recent times have increased social and political tensions.