Trust: A Concept Too Many
Research on "trust" now forms a prominent part of the research agenda in history and the social sciences. Although this research has generated useful insights, the idea of trust has been used so widely and loosely that it risks creating more confusion than clarity. This essay argues that to the extent that scholars have a clear idea of what trust actually means, the concept is, at least for economic questions, superfluous: the useful parts of the idea of trust are implicit in older notions of information and the ability to impose sanctions. I trust you in a transaction because of what I know about you, and because of what I can have done to you should you cheat me. This observation does not obviate what many scholars intend, which is to embed economic action within a framework that recognizes informal institutions and social ties. I illustrate the argument using three examples drawn from an area where trust has been seen as critical: credit for poor people.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (203) 432-3610
Fax: (203) 432-3898
Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Williamson, Oliver E, 1993. "Calculativeness, Trust, and Economic Organization," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 453-86, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:907. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Louise Danishevsky)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.