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Using experimental economics to measure social capital and predict financial decisions

  • Dean Karlan

Questions remain as to whether results from experimental economics are generalizable to real decisions in nonlaboratory settings. Furthermore, questions persist about whether social capital helps mitigate information asymmetries in credit markets. I examine whether behavior in two laboratory games, Trust and a Public Goods, predicts loan repayments to a Peruvian group-lending microfinance program. Since this program relies on social capital to enforce repayment, this tests the external validity of the games. Individuals identified as "trustworthy" by the Trust Game are indeed less likely to default on their loans. No similar support is found for the game's identification of "trusting" individuals.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Artefactual Field Experiments with number 00074.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:feb:artefa:00074
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  1. Samuel Bowles & Robert Boyd & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Joseph Henrich & Richard McElreath, 2001. "In search of homo economicus: Experiments in 15 small-scale societies," Artefactual Field Experiments 00068, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Working Papers 911, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  3. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2007. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6182, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Karlan, Dean S., 2007. "Social Connections and Group Banking," CEPR Discussion Papers 6194, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Prothrow-Stith, Deborah & Lochner, Kimberly & Gupta, Vanita, 1998. "Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 7-17, July.
  6. repec:pri:rpdevs:karlan_d_soccap_grp_bankingpaper is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Roth, Alvin E. & Vesna Prasnikar & Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Shmuel Zamir, 1991. "Bargaining and Market Behavior in Jerusalem, Ljubljana, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1068-95, December.
  8. Joseph Henrich, 2001. "In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 73-78, May.
  9. Fisman, Raymond & Khanna, Tarun, 1999. "Is trust a historical residue? Information flows and trust levels," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 79-92, January.
  10. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  11. Schechter, Laura, 2007. "Traditional trust measurement and the risk confound: An experiment in rural Paraguay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 272-292, February.
  12. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
  13. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
  15. Besley, T. & Coate, S. & Loury, G., 1992. "The economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," Papers 157, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  16. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz G�tte, 2005. "Do Workers Work More if Wages are High? Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 125, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  17. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 7879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Social Connections and Group Banking," Working Papers 913, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  19. 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.
  20. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Social Connections and Group Banking," Working Papers 181, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  21. Christiaan Grootaert & Thierry Van Bastelar, 2002. "Understanding and Measuring Social Capital : A Multidisciplinary Tool for Practitioners," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14098.
  22. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 2001. "Debt Revolvers for Self Control," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0208, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  23. Chaim Fershtman & Uri Gneezy, 2001. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: An Experimental Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 351-377.
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