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Microfoundations of Social Capital

Christian Thöni (), Jean-Robert Tyran () and Erik Wengström ()

No 2010-19, NRN working papers from The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria

Abstract: We show that the standard trust question routinely used in social capital research is importantly related to cooperation behavior and we provide evidence on the microfoundation of this relation. We run a large-scale public goods experiment over the internet in Denmark using a design that enables us to disentangle preferences for cooperation from beliefs about others’ cooperation. We find that the standard trust question is a proxy for cooperation preferences rather than beliefs about others’ cooperation. Moreover, we show that the “fairness question”, a recently proposed alternative to the standard trust question, is also related to cooperation behavior but operates through beliefs rather than preferences.

Keywords: Social capital; Trust; Fairness; Public goods; Cooperation; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H41 C91 C72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010-09
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Related works:
Journal Article: Microfoundations of social capital (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Microfoundations of Social Capital (2010) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_19

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