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Survey Trust, Experimental Trust and ROSCA Membership in Rural Cameroon


  • Alvin Etang Ndip

    () (Department of Economics, Yale University)

  • David Fielding

    () (Department of Economics, University of Otago)

  • Stephen Knowles

    () (Department of Economics, University of Otago)


Broadly speaking, economic experiments and surveys have found trust to be much lower in Africa than in industrialized countries. We analyze new experimental and survey results from rural Cameroon, where the average level of trust appears to be much higher than is typical of Africa. A substantial part of this difference can be explained by the prevalence of Rotating Saving and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) in the area: membership of a common ROSCA is one of the most important factors determining experimental behavior. Correspondingly, responses to the survey questions indicate that villagers have a high degree of trust in people with whom they interact regularly, though not in people in general. There is a significant correlation between the degree of trust exhibited in the game and the degree of trust declared in response to survey questions. However, survey responses do not capture all of the systematic variation in experimental behavior, and understate the importance of ROSCA membership in predicting someoneÕs propensity to trust others.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvin Etang Ndip & David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2007. "Survey Trust, Experimental Trust and ROSCA Membership in Rural Cameroon," Working Papers 0713, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:otg:wpaper:0713

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alvin Etang, 2008. "Modelling the Effects of Socio-Economic Characteristics on Survey Trust: Empirical Evidence from Cameroon," Working Papers 0808, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2008.
    2. Alvin Etang & David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2011. "Does trust extend beyond the village? Experimental trust and social distance in Cameroon," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 15-35, March.

    More about this item


    social capital; trust; reciprocity; economic experiments; ROSCAs;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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