Recent work in Cohn et al. (2019) shows that civic honesty and cooperative behaviour captured in a wallet-return experiment varies considerably across the world. Similarly, beliefs about social trust vary substantially as revealed by a multitude of cross-national questionnaire-based surveys. Previous studies have questioned whether survey-based measures correlate with honest and cooperative behaviour at the individual level. This paper uses the new data from Cohn et al. (2019) to test the association between cooperative behaviour and the trust culture captured in questionnaires. Comparisons of wallet return rates and questionnaire trust across 38 countries and 105 European regions show that experimental behaviour and social trust measured in questionnaires are strongly correlated.
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Civic Honesty and Cultures of Trust
Scientific Article in English