Sunday, July 24, 2005


International ties via voluntary commercial contracts evoke a warm glow in some of us. What can get in the way? Many things: distance, trade barriers, currencies, items "falling of the truck," etc. The Economist cites recent research by Luigi Guiso and colleagues that documents another limit: cultural biases.

"The economists find that cultural biases do drive wide variations among trust among European countries ... and ... cultural driven trust does shape trade and investment."

Yet, even trade between former antagonists is up. So there may be hope that trust follows trade even though trade is impeded by mistrust.