Trust pays off
The three cultural factors, according to the team’s research, play a significant role in forming trust. Fewer ethnic ties lowered respondents’ confidence in foreigners by more than 6 percent. The number of years their states had been at war in the last millennia also mattered. And between states where 90 percent of the population shared the same religion, as with Italy and Spain, trust rose 30 percent. Ethnicity and religion, Zingales notes, are particularly powerful indicators.