NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness

Edward L. Glaeser, David Laibson, Jose A. Scheinkman, Christine L. Soutter

NBER Working Paper No. 7216
Issued in July 1999
NBER Program(s):   LS

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7216

Published: "Measuring Trust," Edward L. Glaeser, David Laibson, Jose A. Scheinkman, and Christine L. Soutter, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 65, August 2000, pp . 811-846.

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