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Building Social Trust : A Human Capital Approach

  • Fali Huang

    (SMU)

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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File URL: http://130.56.61.71/node/22447
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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
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  2. James J. Heckman, 1999. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 7288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Weimann, Joachim, 1994. "Individual behaviour in a free riding experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 185-200, June.
  5. Andreoni, James & Croson, Rachel, 2008. "Partners versus Strangers: Random Rematching in Public Goods Experiments," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  6. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  7. Fali Huang, 2007. "To Trust or to Monitor : A Dynamic Analysis," Labor Economics Working Papers 22444, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  8. 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.
  9. Werner Güth & Hartmut Kliemt & Bezalel Peleg, 2000. "Co-evolution of Preferences and Information in Simple Games of Trust," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 83-110, 02.
  10. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, EconWPA.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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