Table of Contents

Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise

Elgar original reference

Edited by Luigino Bruni and Stefano Zamagni

The recent era of economic turbulence has generated a growing enthusiasm for an increase in new and original economic insights based around the concepts of reciprocity and social enterprise. This stimulating and thought-provoking Handbook not only encourages and supports this growth, but also emphasises and expands upon new topics and issues within the economics discourse.

Chapter 40: Trust

Vittorio Pelligra

Subjects: economics and finance, behavioural and experimental economics, economic psychology, public sector economics, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship, social policy and sociology, economics of social policy


Trust is central for human life in a variety of senses. It constitutes that vinculum societatis, the ‘bond of society’, to which John Locke, in the last of his Essays on the Law of Nature (1660/1954), attributed a crucial role in the sustaining of a civil society. Also according to many contemporary scholars, trust is the basic foundation of every social relationship, a cooperative ‘atmosphere’ both among citizens and between citizens and institutions. As the philosopher Sissella Bok argues: ‘Whatever matters to human beings trust is the atmosphere in which it thrives’ (Bok, 1978, p. 31). And: ‘we inhabit a climate of trust as we inhabit an atmosphere and notice it as we notice air, only when it becomes scarce or polluted’ (Baier, 1986, p. 232). Trust plays a fundamental role in every social interaction, be it direct or indirect, personal or anonymous, mediated or not. Clearly, trust is a crucial issue for social and political sciences as well as psychological and philosophical studies.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information