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What do cross-country surveys tell us about social capital?


Tannenbaum, David; Cohn, Alain; Zünd, Christian Lukas; Maréchal, Michel (2020). What do cross-country surveys tell us about social capital? Working paper series / Department of Economics 352, University of Zurich.

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.

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.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:C93, C83, Z10, O10
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social capital, trust, honesty, field experiment, surveys
Language:English
Date:November 2020
Deposited On:30 Jun 2020 15:43
Last Modified:02 Dec 2020 15:18
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:18
ISSN:1664-705X
Additional Information:Revised version; Former title: What do lost wallets tell us about survey measures of social capital?
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.econ.uzh.ch/en/research/workingpapers.html?paper-id=1033

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