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measures of social capital and trust

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  • o'higgins, s. niall
  • Sbriglia, Patrizia

Abstract

Trust and trustworthiness are important components of social capital and much attention has been devoted to the problems of their correct evaluation. Attitudinal survey questions as reported in the EVS – European Value Survey - are often regarded as inefficient indicators of trust, since they lack of behavioural underpinnings (Putnam, 1995) which one might desire when measuring trust. In this paper, we consider alternative measures of trust and trustworthiness, based on behavioural assumptions. We construct two relative behavioural measures of trust (RBM1 and RBM2), both based on the ex post measurement of trust, once individuals are informed on the level of trustworthiness of the social group to which they have been allocated during the experiment. Our main finding is that the relative behavioural measures show that trust strongly varies once the individual is informed on the on the level of trustworthiness of the social group to which he\she has been allocated during the experiment. This difference is higher the higher is the family level of income and the parental education status. As for previous findings (Glaeser et al., 2000, Lazzarini, 2005) which have found no correlation between attitudinal and behavioural measures of trust, we find that relative behavioural measures are not correlated to attitudinal measures but they are strongly correlated to groups’ trustworthiness. We also find that similar social preferences profiles (between Senders and Recipients) tend to enhance the individual level of trust, in the RBM2 context. This result seems to confirm the importance of the homogeneity of the social environment when studying the effects of policy interventions (Alesina and La Ferrara, 2002).

Suggested Citation

  • o'higgins, s. niall & Sbriglia, Patrizia, 2007. "measures of social capital and trust," MPRA Paper 6924, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6924
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    2. 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.
    3. Lazzarini, S. G. & Madalozzo, R. C & Artes, R. & Siqueira, J. O., 2004. "Measuring trust: An experiment in Brazil," Insper Working Papers wpe_42, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    4. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    6. Ciriolo, Emanuele, 2007. "Inequity aversion and trustees' reciprocity in the trust game," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1007-1024, December.
    7. Abigail Barr & Jose Garcia-Montalvo & Magnus Lindelow & Pieter Serneels, 2005. "Strategy choice and cognitive ability in field experiments," Framed Field Experiments 00113, The Field Experiments Website.
    8. Paldam, Martin & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2000. "An essay on social capital: looking for the fire behind the smoke," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 339-366, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Degli Antoni, Giacomo, 2005. "Le determinanti del capitale sociale: analisi teorica e verifica empirica a livello micro e macroeconomico," AICCON Working Papers 14-2005, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    11. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social capital; trust; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General

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