Trust. The Key to Social Cohesion and Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean

Carlos Scartascini is Head of the Development Research Group at the Research Department and Leader of the Behavioral Economics Group of the Inter-American Development Bank. He has published eight books and more than 60 articles in academic journals and edited volumes. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the IDB's Gender and Diversity Lab, member of the Scientific Committee of Elcano Royal Institute, member of the Board of Advisors of the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, Associate Editor of the academic journal Economía, and Founding Member of LACEA's BRAIN (Behavioral Insights Network).



Trust is the most pressing and yet least discussed problem confronting Latin America and the Caribbean. Whether in others, in government, or in firms, trust is lower in the region than anywhere else in the world. The economic and political consequences of mistrust ripple through society. It suppresses growth and innovation: investment, entrepreneurship, and employment all flourish when firms and government, workers and employers, banks and borrowers, and consumers and producers trust each other. Trust inside private and public sector organizations is essential for collaboration and innovation. Mistrust distorts democratic decision-making. It keeps citizens from demanding better public services and infrastructure, from joining with others to control corruption, and from making the collective sacrifices that leave everyone better off. The good news is that governments can increase citizen trust with clearer promises of what citizens can expect from them, public sector reforms that enable them to keep their promises, and institutional reforms that strengthen the commitments that citizens make to each other. This book guides decision-makers as they incorporate trust and social cohesion into the comprehensive reforms needed to address the region’s most pernicious challenges. Download at: