PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (4): 742-753.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2023.04.010

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Multidimensional social trust and regional entrepreneurial activities: Based on data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS)

WENG Hongmei1,2(), WANG Chen1,2,*()   

  1. 1. School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
    2. Institute for Geography & Spatial Information, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
  • Received:2022-09-28 Revised:2023-01-17 Online:2023-04-28 Published:2023-04-27
  • Contact: WANG Chen;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871106);Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities ]


As the core element of informal institutional environment, social trust has a complex and important impact on regional entrepreneurial activities. Due to the different social distance and communication objects, there are obvious differences in the form and mechanism of social trust, but the existing research rarely pays attention to the impact of the sub-dimensions of social trust on regional entrepreneurship. This study constructed a social trust framework from the three dimensions of universal trust, kinship trust, and institutional trust, and conducted an empirical analysis by using the panel data of the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) 2012-2018 and the micro data of enterprise industrial and commercial registration information. The research found that: 1) At the national scale, kinship trust significantly improved the activity of regional entrepreneurship, while universal trust and institutional trust had little impact on the entrepreneurial system. 2) The results of interaction effects show that there was a substitution effect between universal trust, kinship trust, and economic development; there was a complementary relationship between the effects of universal trust and government intervention on regional entrepreneurial activities; and institutional trust and government intervention showed a mutually reinforcing effect, which jointly promoted regional entrepreneurial activities. 3) Regional heterogeneity tests show that entrepreneurial activities in the eastern regions was less dependent on social trust; entrepreneurial activities in the central and western regions was positively influenced by universal trust and kinship trust; entrepreneurial activities in cities with good business-government relations was promoted by institutional trust, where the entrepreneurial policy dividend was effectively released; and in cities with average business-government relations, universal trust could significantly promote entrepreneurship and stimulate entrepreneurial vitality. This study focused on the impact of different dimensions of social trust on regional entrepreneurial activities, which enriches and expands the research on informal institutional environment and entrepreneurship, and has important implications for local enterprises to formulate entrepreneurial policies and optimize the entrepreneurial environment.

Key words: universal trust, kinship trust, institutional trust, regional entrepreneurship