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Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania

  • Narayan, Deepa
  • Pritchett, Lant

The authors construct a measure of"social capital"in rural Tanzania, using data from the Tanzania Social Capital and Poverty Survey (SCPS), a large-scale survey that asked individuals about the extent and characteristics of their associational activity and their trust in various institutions and individuals. They match this measure of social capital with data on household income in the same villages (both from the SCPS and from an earlier household survey, the Human Resources Development Survey). In doing so, they show that"social capital"is indeed both capital (in that it raises incomes) and social (in that household incomes depend on village, not just household, social capital). The magnitude of social capital's effect on incomes is impressive: a one standard deviation increase in village social capital increases a household proxy for income by at least 20 to 30 percent. This is as great an impact as an equivalent increase in nonfarming assets, or a tripling of the level of education. Data from the two surveys make it possible to identify some of the proximate channels through which social capital affects incomes: better publicly provided services, more community activity, greater use of modern agricultural inputs, and greater use of credit in agriculture.

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

Volume (Year): 47 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 871-97

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:47:y:1999:i:4:p:871-97
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
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  4. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
  5. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Diffusion as a Learning Process: Evidence from HYV Cotton," Working Papers 228, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  6. Binswanger, Hans P. & Khandker, Shahidur R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1993. "How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 337-366, August.
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  8. repec:pri:rpdevs:besley_case_diffusion is not listed on IDEAS
  9. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  10. Morduch, J., 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Papers 512, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  11. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  12. Deepa Narayan, 1995. "Designing Community Based Development," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11662, The World Bank.
  13. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  14. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  15. repec:pri:rpdevs:besley_case_diffusion.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
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