What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness

Posted: 26 Jul 2000

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Laibson

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

José Scheinkman

Columbia University; Princeton University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Christine L. Soutter

Harvard University - Department of Psychology

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

Using a sample of Harvard undergraduates, we analyze trust and social capital in two experiments. Trusting behavior and trustworthiness rise with social connection; differences in race and nationality reduce the level of trustworthiness. Certain individuals appear to be persistently more trusting, but these people do not say they are more trusting in surveys. Survey questions about trust predict trustworthiness not trust. Only children are less trustworthy. People behave in a more trustworthy manner towards higher status individuals, and therefore status increases earnings in the experiment. As such, high status persons can be said to have more social capital.

JEL Classification: C9, D7, J7

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Laibson, David I. and Scheinkman, José and Soutter, Christine L., What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness (1999). Harvard Institute of Economics Research Paper No. 1875. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=237460

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

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José Scheinkman

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Christine L. Soutter

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