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Networks, Finance, and Development: Evidence from Hunter-Gatherers

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  • New York University
  • Farzad Saidi

Abstract

This paper sheds light on the relationship between social networks and market incompleteness in an Amazonian hunter-gatherer society. In that economy, individuals enter informal contracts to finance, besides their foraging-farming activities, relatively risky human capital investments in pursuit of employment outside the villages. While the default financing contract can be characterized as debt, insurance in the form of equity-like financing is only available from fellow villagers. However, in order to maintain the stability of the village networks, human capital investments are underfunded with insurance. I show that this capital market imperfection potentially leads to substantial underinvestment in human capital, and calibrate the counterfactual efficiency gains from completing the market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 615.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:615

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  1. Dean Karlan & Markus Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Adam Szeidl, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1307-1361, August.
  2. Alberto F. Alesina & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 15747, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Quoc-Anh Do & Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat, 2008. "Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks," Working Papers 17-2008, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  4. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo de Giorgi & Imran Rasul & Marcos A. Rangel, 2010. "Insurance and Investment within Family Networks," Working Papers id:2649, eSocialSciences.
  5. Huggett, Mark & Kaplan, Greg, 2011. "Human capital values and returns: Bounds implied by earnings and asset returns data," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 897-919, May.
  6. Abhijit Banerjee & Kaivan Munshi, 2004. "How Efficiently is Capital Allocated? Evidence from the Knitted Garment Industry in Tirupur," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 19-42.
  7. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
  8. Banerjee, Abhijit & Newman, Andrew F, 1998. "Information, the Dual Economy, and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 631-53, October.
  9. Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1986. "Risk, Implicit Contracts and the Family in Rural Areas of Low-Income Countries," Bulletins 7518, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  10. Udry, Christopher, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526, July.
  11. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
  12. Ingela Alger & Jörgen Weibull, 2009. "Kinship, Incentives and Evolution," Working Papers hal-00435431, HAL.
  13. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Lee, Samuel & Persson, Petra, 2012. "Financing from Family and Friends," Working Paper Series 933, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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