Do Less Stable Borders Lead to Lower Levels of Political Trust? Empirical Evidence from Eastern Europe

Matija Jancec
2012 Social Science Research Network  
This paper examines the effect of historical changes in political borders on culture, specifically levels of trust in political institutions. The identification strategy is to focus on regions that are part of the same country today and therefore share the same political institutions but have had different numbers of border changes in the past. This within-country variation is satisfied for six Eastern European countries -Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania and Ukraine. Using three
more » ... aine. Using three independent data sources, the paper shows that more stable political borders do lead to higher levels of political trust. The effect is stronger for older people and for individuals who did not move, as predicted by this paper's framework. Frequent border changes could explain 45% of the difference in political trust between the UK, which enjoyed stable borders, and the countries studied in this paper. Furthermore, the potential endogeneity of border changes is addressed by using a novel set of geographical instrumental variables reflecting a regions strategic importance and vulnerability to attack.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2148773 fatcat:oaz5j7qmtzfg3if5tuaotxd7jy