DIGSSCORE seminar: The effect of institutions on trust and collective action: a lab-experimental approach

Portrait picture of Marina Povitkina

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Marina Povitkina, associate professor at the University of Oslo, will present for us at DIGSSCORE today. Her presentation is titled "The effect of institutions on trust and collective action: a lab-experimental approach", based on a paper cowritten with ANdrea Marinangeli, Sverker Jagers and Bo Rothstein.

The event is in a hybrid format, you are welcome to join us for lunch from the Corner room at DIGSSCORE. Food is provided on a first-come first-served basis. Zoom link for digital attendance.

The solutions to urgent global challenges that the world faces today rely on cooperation among many actors. Accelerating climate action, reducing plastic pollution in the oceans, stopping large-scale deforestation and overfishing  – solving all these critical problems rely on the willingness of actors, be it common citizens or private companies, to sacrifice immediate gain for collectively desirable outcomes. How to make actors willing to sacrifice some of their short-term interest for the benefit of the collective in the long-term is one of the most pressing questions in social sciences today (Caldeira 2015). 
When ensuring cooperation of actors on a large scale, we need to rely on institutions – “rules of the game or humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction”, as full-scale monitoring and enforcement of actors’ cooperation are costly. However, if institutions are dysfunctional or corrupt, as in many countries around the globe, we stand short of overcoming most of the challenges we need to combat. In order to understand how policies ought to be designed in contexts where institutions have low quality, we first need to understand how low-quality institutions affect actors’ propensity to cooperate to identify areas for intervention.
I will present my current research agenda that builds on the insights from political science and economics to investigate how people react to varying levels of institutional quality and how it affects people’s propensity to cooperate.  My co-authors and I developed a novel experimental design and plan to test it further to provide more causal evidence of the effect of institutional quality on cooperation. The paper attached is the first output of this research agenda and is forthcoming in AJPS.