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Keeping It in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Jacob Moscona
  • Nathan Nunn
  • James A. Robinson

Abstract

We present evidence that the traditional structure of society is an important determinant of the scope of trust today. Within Africa, individuals belonging to ethnic groups that organized society using segmentary lineages exhibit a more limited scope of trust, measured by the gap between trust in relatives and trust in non-relatives. This trust gap arises because of lower levels of trust in non-relatives and not higher levels of trust in relatives. A causal interpretation of these correlations is supported by the fact that the effects are primarily found in rural areas where these forms of organization are still prevalent.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Moscona & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson, 2017. "Keeping It in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 23196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23196
    Note: DAE DEV EFG LE POL
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, June.
    2. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    3. Koen Deconinck & Marijke Verpoorten, 2013. "Narrow and scientific replication of ‘The slave trade and the origins of mistrust in Africa'," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 166-169, January.
    4. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Enke, 2017. "Kinship Systems, Cooperation and the Evolution of Culture," NBER Working Papers 23499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Benjamin Enke, 2018. "Kinship Systems, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Culture," CESifo Working Paper Series 6867, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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