Working Paper No. 1046

Social Capital and Health: Evidence That Ancestral Trust Promotes Health among Children of Immigrants

Published: November 3, 2014Pages: 39Keywords: Trust; Social capital; Self‐assessed health; Subjective health; Self‐reported health; Cultural transmission; Children of immigrantsJEL-codes: D13; D83; I12; Z13
Published version

Social Capital and Health: Evidence That Ancestral Trust Promotes Health among Children of Immigrants Martin Ljunge


This paper presents evidence that generalized trust promotes health. Children of immigrants in a broad set of European countries with ancestry from across the world are studied. Individuals are examined within country of residence using variation in trust across countries of ancestry. There is a significant positive estimate of ancestral trust in explaining self‐assessed health.

The finding is robust to accounting for individual, parental, and extensive ancestral country characteristics. Individuals with higher ancestral trust are also less likely to be hampered by health problems in their daily life, providing evidence of trust influencing real life outcomes. Individuals with high trust feel and act healthier, enabling a more productive life.

Martin Ljunge

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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