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Trustworthiness and Social Capital in South Africa: Analysis of Actual Living Standards Data and Artifactual Field Experiments


Author Info

  • Michael R. Carter
  • Marco Castillo


This article measures trustworthiness using an experimental protocol designed to distinguish this social norm from purely altruistic preferences. Experimental participants were drawn from South African households surveyed by a longitudinal living standards study. This procedure not only permits analysis of the impact of experimentally measured social norms on real-world outcomes but also provides a rich array of data that can be used to control for initial conditions and prior possibilities that might be spuriously correlated with norms. Interestingly, altruism has more robust effects on living standards than does trustworthiness, though both are statistically signficant. This finding motivates a deeper reconsideration on how trusts works, especially in societies like South Africa’s, where the boundaries of trust are by a history of social exclusion and segregation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 59 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 695 - 722

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/660000

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Cited by:
  1. Alberto E. Chong & David A. Fleming & Hernán D. Bejarano, 2011. "Trust and Trustworthiness in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters: Experimental Evidence from the 2010 Chilean Earthquake," Working Papers, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy 2011-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  2. Ligon, Ethan & Schechter, Laura, 2012. "Motives for sharing in social networks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 13-26.
  3. Silvia Angerer & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Philipp Lergetporer & Matthias Sutter, 2014. "Donations, risk attitudes and time preferences: A study on altruism in primary school children," Working Papers, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck 2014-21, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  4. Cárdenas, Juan Camilo & Chong, Alberto & Ñopo, Hugo, 2013. "Stated social behavior and revealed actions: Evidence from six Latin American countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 16-33.


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