Survey Trust, Experimental Trust and ROSCA Membership in Rural Cameroon
Etang, Alvin; Fielding, David; Knowles, Stephen
Broadly speaking, economic experiments and surveys have found trust to be much lower in Africa than in industrialized countries. We analyze new experimental and survey results from rural Cameroon, where the average level of trust appears to be much higher than is typical of Africa. A substantial part of this difference can be explained by the prevalence of Rotating Saving and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) in the area: membership of a common ROSCA is one of the most important factors determining experimental behavior. Correspondingly, responses to the survey questions indicate that villagers have a high degree of trust in people with whom they interact regularly, though not in people in general. There is a significant correlation between the degree of trust exhibited in the game and the degree of trust declared in response to survey questions. However, survey responses do not capture all of the systematic variation in experimental behavior, and understate the importance of ROSCA membership in predicting someone’s propensity to trust others.
Publisher: Department of Economics, University of Otago
Series number: 713
Keywords: social capital; trust; reciprocity; economic experiments; ROSCAs
Research Type: Discussion Paper