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What do lost wallets tell us about survey measures of social capital?


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

Abstract

We validate survey measures of social capital with a new 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 economic development and government effectiveness not captured by existing measures, suggesting this data set also holds promise as a useful indicator of social capital.

Abstract

We validate survey measures of social capital with a new 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 economic development and government effectiveness not captured by existing measures, suggesting this data set also holds promise as a useful indicator of social capital.

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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:June 2020
Deposited On:30 Jun 2020 15:43
Last Modified:01 Jul 2020 17:34
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number of Pages:14
ISSN:1664-705X
OA Status:Green
Official URL:https://www.econ.uzh.ch/en/research/workingpapers.html?paper-id=1033

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