Social Trust Is Lower Than You Think

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A number of researchers have shown that social trust has been in a long and steady tailspin. One recent AP-Gfk poll found that “only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted.” Read more…

The Simple Power of Tit for Tat

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Why do we work with others? In many ways, the answer is simple. It’s about reciprocity. I do something for you. You do something for me, and often one of the easiest ways to build up faith in someone else is to exchange favors, to engage in reciprocity. Read more…

Educational Equity and Effectiveness

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School finance reformers have long been divided into two camps. On one side, there are the advocates who argue for increased fiscal equity. They believe the primary issue concerning school finance is funding fairness and point to an abundance of evidence that shows high-poverty districts with needier students receive far less money than their wealthier counterparts. Read more…

Why Trust Matters: The Moral of the “Eye-Poking” Capuchin Monkey

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When political scientists talk about the importance of trust, they often reach for the literary stars. They pull out the big metaphors. They add some purple to their prose. Researcher Eric Uslaner once called social trust the “chicken soup” of social life. Sociologist Pamela Paxton has argued that trust is “the magic ingredient that makes social life possible.” One German academic was Teutonically blunt, declaring that “a complete absence of trust would prevent [one] even getting up in the morning.” Read more…