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Was Baneld right? New insights from a nationwide laboratory experiment

Number: 127
Year: 2019
Author(s): Arnstein Aassve, Pierluigi Conzo, Francesco Mattioli
Keywords: Trust,cooperation,social capital,culture,lab-experiments,regiona lconvergence,Italy,Trustlab
The north-south gap in Italian social capital has been considered by international scholars as an example of how cultural diversity within a country can generate dierent developmental outcomes. Most studies, however, suer from limited external validity and measurement-error problems. This paper exploits a new and representative online lab-experiment to assess social capital patterns in Italy. Our study only partially conrms previous ndings: northerners perform better in trustworthiness, but they are statistically similar to southerners in many other economic preferences such as cooperation, trust, expected trustworthiness, altruism, and risk tolerance. A novelty of this study is that the gap in trustworthiness stems from the lower reciprocity of southerners in response to large transfers from trustors, and it is characterized by the intergenerational transmission of norms. Eective convergence policies should target, within social capital, reciprocity, while looking to other, and perhaps more compelling gaps.

Arnstein Aassve Department of Social and Political Sciences and the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, Bocconi University

Pierluigi Conzo University of Turin (IT)

Francesco Mattioli  Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy, Bocconi University

Language: English

The paper may be downloaded here.