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Building Social Trust : A Human Capital Approach

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  • Fali Huang

    (SMU)

Abstract

Much evidence suggests individuals differ in their predisposition to cooperate, which is essentially a component of human capital. This paper examines the role of individual cooperative tendencies and their interactions with institutions in generating social trust; it also endogenizes cooperative tendencies using a human capital investment model. Multiple equilibria and inefficiencies exist due to positive externalities. An innovative finding is that, when institutions are more effective in punishing defecting behaviors, more people invest in cooperative tendencies and hence the endogenous social trust is higher, though the equilibrium cooperative tendencies are lower. This paper provides a plausible explanation for many empirical and experimental results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Labor Economics Working Papers with number 22447.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:eab:laborw:22447

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Keywords: Human Capital; human capital investment model; endogenous social trust; cooperative tendencies;

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  1. Kandel, E. & Lazear, E.P., 1990. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Papers 90-07, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  2. James Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," Working Papers 0028, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  3. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
  4. Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, . "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  6. Oren Bar-Gill & Chaim Fershtman, 2005. "Public Policy with Endogenous Preferences," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 841-857, December.
  7. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  8. Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
  9. Güth, Werner & Kliemt, Hartmut & Peleg, Bezalel, 1998. "Co-evolution of preferences and information in simple games of trust," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1998,72, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  10. Fali Huang, 2007. "To Trust or to Monitor : A Dynamic Analysis," Labor Economics Working Papers 22444, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  11. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, EconWPA.
  12. Brennan, G. & Güth, W. & Kliemt, H., 1997. "Trust in the Shadow of the Courts," Discussion Paper 1997-89, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
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