Trust as a Proxy for the Ability to Produce Local Public Goods: Testing Different Measures
The ability to produce local public goods and services such as sharing savings, risk, insurance, sanitation and educational services, is a key fator for development. This ability, however, varies greatly across communities (Ostrom 1990 ; Khwaja 2009). Considering that this ability depends critically on members' willingness to act collectively, this paper investigate whether the level of trust among people measured in different ways can predict the amount of public good produced. I find that (i) trust, as measured by survey questions, has poor predictive power, while (ii) the results from our version of Trust Game are much better predictors of local public-good production.
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