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Glaeser, E. G., Laibson, D., Scheinkman, J. A., Soutter, C. L. (2000). Measuring Trust. Quarterly Journal of Economics 65, 811-846

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.

 

Authors

Glaeser, Edward P.

Ed Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard, where he also serves as Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He studies the economics of cities, and has written scores of urban issues, including...

Laibson, David

David Isaac Laibson (born 26 June 1966) is a professor of economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1994. His research focuses on macroeconomics, intertemporal choice, behavioral economics and neuroeconomics. Laibson is the son of Ruth and Peter Laibson, and grew up in...

Scheinkman, Jose A.

Soutter, Christine L.

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