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The Development Of Trust And Social Capital In Rural Uganda: An Experimental Approach

  • Arjan Verschoor
  • Paul Mosley

Trust is important for development but can be hard to build. In this paper, we report on experiments designed to understand the determinants of trust in villages in eastern Uganda, and in particular whether trust can be `built´ by offering insurance to people as a protection against the possibility that the trust they offer will not be reciprocated. We find, firstly, that the effects of income and wealth on trust are ambiguous: trust is higher in the richer than the poorer village, but once association and female education are added as explanatory variables, the wealth effect disappears. Secondly, although the offer of insurance is taken up by a majority of players, this is in most cases not an `effective demand´ in the sense of incentivising higher levels of trust. Effective demand for insurance, defined in this way, however responds positively to high levels of risk efficacy, microfinance membership and female education. Insurance offered in this form, therefore, is on its own apparently not a reliable technology for building trust; but its effectiveness as a trust-building instrument appears to increase if certain complementary institutions are in position.

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Paper provided by Royal Economic Society in its series Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 with number 106.

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Date of creation: 17 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2004:106
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  1. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Joseph Henrich, 2000. "Does Culture Matter in Economic Behavior? Ultimatum Game Bargaining among the Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 973-979, September.
  4. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
  6. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
  7. Abigail Barr, 2003. "Trust and expected trustworthiness: experimental evidence from zimbabwean villages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 614-630, 07.
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