Trust and specialization in complexity: Evidence from U.S. states

José De Sousa, Amélie Guillin, Julie Lochard, and Arthur Silve


Industries with more complex input-output relationships are comparatively larger in U.S. states with higher levels of trust. This specialization pattern is not driven by differences in the states' and industries' other observable characteristics. Given the importance of complexity in economic growth and development, our results underscore the need to focus more on the role of social norms, particularly trust, in shaping patterns of economic specialization.

Published in

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol. 216, December 2023, pp. 332–353