NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Keeping It in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jacob Moscona, Nathan Nunn, James A. Robinson

NBER Working Paper No. 23196
Issued in February 2017
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Development Economics, Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Law and Economics, Political Economy

We present evidence that the traditional structure of society is an important determinant of the scope of trust today. Within Africa, individuals belonging to ethnic groups that organized society using segmentary lineages exhibit a more limited scope of trust, measured by the gap between trust in relatives and trust in non-relatives. This trust gap arises because of lower levels of trust in non-relatives and not higher levels of trust in relatives. A causal interpretation of these correlations is supported by the fact that the effects are primarily found in rural areas where these forms of organization are still prevalent.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23196

Published: Jacob Moscona & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson, 2017. "Keeping It in the Family: Lineage Organization and the Scope of Trust in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 565-571, May. citation courtesy of

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