IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/jku/nrnwps/2010_19.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Microfoundations of Social Capital

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Thöni
  • Jean-Robert Tyran
  • Erik Wengström

Abstract

We show that the standard trust question routinely used in social capital research is importantly related to cooperation behavior and we provide evidence on the microfoundation of this relation. We run a large-scale public goods experiment over the internet in Denmark using a design that enables us to disentangle preferences for cooperation from beliefs about others’ cooperation. We find that the standard trust question is a proxy for cooperation preferences rather than beliefs about others’ cooperation. Moreover, we show that the “fairness question”, a recently proposed alternative to the standard trust question, is also related to cooperation behavior but operates through beliefs rather than preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Thöni & Jean-Robert Tyran & Erik Wengström, 2010. "Microfoundations of Social Capital," NRN working papers 2010-19, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  • Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_19
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.labornrn.at/wp/2010/wp1019.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    2. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    3. Ernst Fehr, 2009. "On The Economics and Biology of Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 235-266, 04-05.
    4. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
    5. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    6. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    7. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk, 2006. "A note on the theory and measurement of trust in explaining differences in economic growth," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 371-387, May.
    8. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & J�rgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, "undated". "A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining trust and trustworthiness by integrating behavioral experiments into representative surveys," IEW - Working Papers 141, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    9. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    10. Thomas Markussen & Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2011. "Self-Organization for Collective Action: An Experimental Study of Voting on Formal, Informal, and No Sanction Regimes," Working Papers 2011-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    11. Xiaohao Ding & Joop Hartog & Yuze Sun, 2010. "Can we measure Individual Risk Attitudes in a Survey?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-027/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    13. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 526-556, June.
    14. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1688-1699, December.
    15. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-338, May.
    16. Ernst Fehr & Michael Naef & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2006. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1912-1917, December.
    17. William A. Galston, 2001. "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 788-790.
    18. Håkan J. Holm & Anders Danielson, 2005. "Tropic Trust Versus Nordic Trust: Experimental Evidence From Tanzania And Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 505-532, April.
    19. Paola Sapienza & Anna Toldra‐Simats & Luigi Zingales, 2013. "Understanding Trust," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1313-1332, December.
    20. Nowell, Clifford & Tinkler, Sarah, 1994. "The influence of gender on the provision of a public good," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 25-36, September.
    21. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
    22. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gächter, Simon & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike, 2011. "The framing of games and the psychology of play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 459-478.
    23. 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.
    24. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    25. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    26. Lisa R. Anderson & Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 2004. "Social Capital and Contributions in a Public-Goods Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 373-376, May.
    27. Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thöni, 2009. "Measuring conditional cooperation: a replication study in Russia," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 87-92, March.
    28. Volk, Stefan & Thöni, Christian & Ruigrok, Winfried, 2012. "Temporal stability and psychological foundations of cooperation preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 664-676.
    29. Gachter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt & Thoni, Christian, 2004. "Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socio-economic background: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 505-531, December.
    30. Ding, Xiaohao & Hartog, Joop & Sun, Yuze, 2010. "Can We Measure Individual Risk Attitudes in a Survey?," IZA Discussion Papers 4807, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    31. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    32. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    33. Kocher, Martin G. & Cherry, Todd & Kroll, Stephan & Netzer, Robert J. & Sutter, Matthias, 2008. "Conditional cooperation on three continents," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 175-178, December.
    34. 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.
    35. Lisa Anderson & Jennifer Mellor, 2009. "Are risk preferences stable? Comparing an experimental measure with a validated survey-based measure," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 137-160, October.
    36. Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
    37. repec:pri:rpdevs:gamespaper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    38. Thomas Markussen & Louis Putterman & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2011. "Self-Organization for Collective Action: An Experimental Study of Voting on Formal, Informal, and No Sanction Regimes," Working Papers 2011-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    39. Solow, John L. & Kirkwood, Nicole, 2002. "Group identity and gender in public goods experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 403-412, August.
    40. Iris Bohnet & Fiona Greig & Benedikt Herrmann & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008. "Betrayal Aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 294-310, March.
    41. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    42. Quang Nguyen & Colin Camerer & Tomomi Tanaka, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences Linking Experimental and Household Data from Vietnam," Post-Print halshs-00547090, HAL.
    43. Bernd Hardeweg & Lukas Menkhoff & Hermann Waibel, 2013. "Experimentally Validated Survey Evidence on Individual Risk Attitudes in Rural Thailand," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 859-888.
    44. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-474, June.
    45. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Why free ride? : Strategies and learning in public goods experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, December.
    46. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
    47. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-571, March.
    48. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," Scholarly Articles 30726298, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    49. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
    50. Francesco Guala & Roberto Burlando, 2002. "Conditional Cooperation: new evidence from a public goods experiment," CEEL Working Papers 0210, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    51. Andereoni, J., 1988. "Why Free Ride? Strategies And Learning In Public Goods Experiments," Working papers 375, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2017. "Trust, risk and time preferences: evidence from survey data," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 64(4), pages 367-388, December.
    2. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2013. "Trust and preferences: evidence from survey data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 911, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Martin G. Kocher, 2015. "How Trust in Social Dilemmas Evolves with Age," CESifo Working Paper Series 5447, CESifo.
    4. Bellemare, Charles & Kroger, Sabine, 2007. "On representative social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 183-202, January.
    5. Houser, Daniel & Schunk, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2010. "Distinguishing trust from risk: An anatomy of the investment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 72-81, May.
    6. Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre, 2014. "Trust, Growth, and Well-Being: New Evidence and Policy Implications," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 2, pages 49-120, Elsevier.
    7. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2014. "Trust, Well-Being and Growth: New Evidence and Policy Implications," Post-Print hal-01169659, HAL.
    8. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/33o86cn6qp83dot08iir97915s is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Kim, Jeongbin & Putterman, Louis & Zhang, Xinyi, 2022. "Trust, Beliefs and Cooperation: Excavating a Foundation of Strong Economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    10. Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2015. "The role of beliefs, trust, and risk in contributions to a public good," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 236-244.
    11. repec:tiu:tiucen:200457 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-382, May.
    13. repec:tiu:tiucen:200347 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Banerjee, Ritwik, 2016. "Corruption, norm violation and decay in social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 14-27.
    15. Furtner, Nadja C. & Kocher, Martin G. & Martinsson, Peter & Matzat, Dominik & Wollbrant, Conny, 2021. "Gender and cooperative preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 39-48.
    16. Gachter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt & Thoni, Christian, 2004. "Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socio-economic background: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 505-531, December.
    17. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra A., 2011. "Trust games: A meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 865-889.
    18. Guiso, Luigi & Zingales, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola, 2010. "Civic Capital as the Missing Link," CEPR Discussion Papers 7757, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Labonne, Julien & Chase, Robert S., 2010. "A road to trust," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 253-261, June.
    20. Delavande, Adeline & Zafar, Basit, 2015. "Stereotypes and Madrassas: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 247-267.
    21. Quang Nguyen & Marie Claire Villeval & Hui Xu, 2012. "Trust and Trustworthiness under the Prospect Theory: A field experiment in Vietnam," Working Papers halshs-00730609, HAL.
    22. In Do Hwang, 2017. "Which Type of Trust Matters?:Interpersonal vs. Institutional vs. Political Trust," Working Papers 2017-15, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    23. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; Trust; Fairness; Public goods; Cooperation; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: René Böheim (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aclawat.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.