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Gift-giving, Quasi-Credit and Reciprocity

  • Jonathan P. Thomas

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews,)

  • Tim Worrall

    ()

    (Department of Economics Keele University)

Abstract: The fluctuations in incomes inherent in rural communities can be attenuated by reciprocal assistance. A model of reciprocal assistance based upon rational action and voluntary participation is presented. Individuals provide assistance only if the costs of so doing are outweighed by the benefits from expected future reciprocation. A distinction is made between general reciprocity where the counter obligation is expected but not certain and balanced reciprocity where there is a from counter obligation. This from counter obligation is reflected by including a loan or quasi-credit element in any assistance. It is shown how this can increase the assistance given and it may explain the widespread use of quasi-credit in rural comunitities. Moreover it is shown that for a range of parameter values consistent with evidence from three villages in southern India, a simple scheme of gift-giving and quasi-credit can do almost as well as theoretically better but more complicated schemes.

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File URL: http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/ec/wpapers/0020.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Keele University in its series Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) with number 2000/20.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Rationality and Society, 2002, vol. 14(3), pages.307-351. [ doi:10.1177/1043463102014003003 ]
Handle: RePEc:kee:keeldp:2000/20
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, University of Keele, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG - United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)1782 584581
Fax: +44 (0)1782 717577
Web page: http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/ec/cer/
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Order Information: Postal: Department of Economics, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG - United Kingdom
Web: http://www.keele.ac.uk/depts/ec/cer/pubs_kerps.htm Email:


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  1. Udry, Christopher, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526, July.
  2. Andrew D. Foster & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2001. "Imperfect Commitment, Altruism, And The Family: Evidence From Transfer Behavior In Low-Income Rural Areas," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 389-407, August.
  3. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  4. Richard A. Posner, 1979. "A Theory of Primitive Society with Special Reference to Law," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 7, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn, 1993. "The Economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 792-810, September.
  6. Ruffle, Bradley J., 1999. "Gift giving with emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 399-420, July.
  7. Telser, L G, 1980. "A Theory of Self-enforcing Agreements," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 27-44, January.
  8. Pender, John L., 1996. "Discount rates and credit markets: Theory and evidence from rural india," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 257-296, August.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521550123 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Kimball, Miles S, 1988. "Farmers' Cooperatives as Behavior Toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 224-32, March.
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