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Microfoundations of Social Capital

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

No 09-24, Discussion Papers from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics

Abstract: We show that the standard trust question routinely used in social capital research is importantly related to cooperation behavior and we provide a microfoundation for this relation. We run a large-scale public goods experiment over the internet in Denmark and find that the trust question is a proxy for cooperation preferences rather than beliefs about others’ cooperation. To disentangle the preference and belief channels, we run a (standard) public goods game in which beliefs matter for cooperation choices and one (using the strategy method) in which they do not matter. We show that the “fairness question”, a recently proposed alternative to the “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)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-pbe and nep-soc
Date: 2009-10, Revised 2010-09
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (15) Track citations by RSS feed

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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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