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What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness

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Listed:
  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • David Laibson
  • Jose A. Scheinkman
  • Christine L. Soutter

Abstract

Using a sample of Harvard undergraduates, we analyze trust and social capital in two experiments. Trusting behavior and trustworthiness rise with social connection; differences in race and nationality reduce the level of trustworthiness. Certain individuals appear to be persistently more trusting, but these people do not say they are more trusting in surveys. Survey questions about trust predict trustworthiness not trust. Only children are less trustworthy. People behave in a more trustworthy manner towards higher status individuals, and therefore status increases earnings in the experiment. As such, high status persons can be said to have more social capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Jose A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 1999. "What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness," NBER Working Papers 7216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7216
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

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