Experimental Evidence on the Everyday Politics of the Social Contract
For most of history, people had only infrequent personal contacts with their governments. In contrast, the modern social contract generates myriad interactions between citizens and the state, in the form of publicly-funded benefits and taxation. By conducting randomized control trials, survey experiments and field work in the US, Sweden and Australia, I examine how the design of public policies can shape interactions that promote, or undermine, trust in government. Whereas most research links attitudinal outcomes to the content of policies, I argue that seemingly innocuous design features shaping policy experiences can have outsized impacts.