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Assessing trust through social capital? A possible experimental answer

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  • Migheli, Matteo

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Abstract

Trust is an important variable in economics, as several transactions are based on it; unfortunately it is difficult to measure. The recent economic literature on social capital shows a positive association between this concept and trust. As social capital is easier to measure than trust is, this paper analyzes the possibility of assessing trust measuring social capital using experimental economics. A basic trust game is played in three Western European countries with undergraduate students; a questionnaire measures their level of social capital, as time spent within social networks. This measure is stronger and more precise than the ones generally used. In particular this paper firstly measures social capital as the intensity of a membership to a voluntary organization, while the extant literature generally considers only the membership per se. Secondly the use of an experiment instead of a questionnaire allows for constructiong a measure of trust which is in principle continuous. Thirdly to play an experiment allows for observing the behaviour of the participants better than by the means of a survey. The results are supportive of the fact that trust can be assessed through social capital, although the presence of a strong geographical effect has to be accounted for.

Suggested Citation

  • Migheli, Matteo, 2009. "Assessing trust through social capital? A possible experimental answer," POLIS Working Papers 119, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:119
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    Cited by:

    1. Privileggi, Fabio, 2008. "On the transition dynamics in endogenous recombinant growth models," POLIS Working Papers 120, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    2. Bondonio, Daniele, 2009. "Impact identification strategies for evaluating business incentive programs," POLIS Working Papers 129, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    3. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Espín, Antonio M. & Neuman, Shoshana, 2013. "Effects of religiosity on social behaviour: Experimental evidence from a representative sample of Spaniards," CEPR Discussion Papers 9709, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Shuiqing Yang, 2016. "Role of transfer-based and performance-based cues on initial trust in mobile shopping services: a cross-environment perspective," Information Systems and e-Business Management, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 47-70, February.
    5. Orso, Cristina Elisa, 2009. "Formal and informal sectors: Interactions between moneylenders and traditional banks in the rural Indian credit market," POLIS Working Papers 135, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    6. Giuranno, Michele, 2009. "The logic of party coalitions with political activism and public financing," POLIS Working Papers 134, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    7. Marchese Carla & Ramello Giovanni B., 2011. "In the Beginning Was the Word. Now is the Copyright," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 271-289, October.
    8. Matteo Migheli, 2013. "Relational capital, profitability and access to credit: evidence from a sample of Italian small firms," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 221-233, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    generalized trust; social capital; gender effect;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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