What Do Lost Wallets Tell Us About Survey Measures of Social Capital?

20 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020

See all articles by David Tannenbaum

David Tannenbaum

University of Utah - Department of Management

Alain Cohn

University of Michigan

Christian Zünd

University of Zurich

Michel André Maréchal

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

We validate survey measures of social capital with a new behavioral data set that examines whether citizens report a lost wallet to its owner. Using data from more than 17,000 lost wallets across 40 countries, we find that survey measures of social capital — especially questions concerning generalized trust or generalized morality — are strongly and significantly correlated with country-level differences in wallet reporting rates. A second finding is that lost wallet reporting rates predict unique variation in the outputs of social capital, such as economic development and government effectiveness, not captured by existing measures.

JEL Classification: C930, C830, Z100, O100

Suggested Citation

Tannenbaum, David and Cohn, Alain and Zünd, Christian and Maréchal, Michel André, What Do Lost Wallets Tell Us About Survey Measures of Social Capital? (2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3656879 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3656879

David Tannenbaum (Contact Author)

University of Utah - Department of Management ( email )

Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Alain Cohn

University of Michigan ( email )

105 S State St
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Christian Zünd

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Michel André Maréchal

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

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