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Does social capital matter to economic decision-making? We address this broad question through an artefactual group lending experiment carried out in five countries: India, Kenya, Guatemala, Armenia, and the Philippines, obtaining data from 10,673 contribution decisions on simulated group loans from 1,554 participants in 259 experimental borrowing groups. We carry out treatments for social homogeneity, group monitoring, and group self-selection. Results show that societal trust has a positive and significant impact on group loan contribution rates, that group lending appears to create as well as harness social capital, and that peer monitoring can have perverse as well as beneficial effects.


"This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Oxford Economic Papers following peer review. The version of record, Alessandra Cassar and Bruce Wydick. Does social capital matter? Evidence from a five-country group lending experiment Oxf. Econ. Pap. (2010) 62 (4): 715-739 doi:10.1093/oep/gpq010 is available online at:

Presented at the Northeast Universities Development Conference (Boston University) November, 2008, University of California and Berkeley Development seminar, February 2008, and at the University of California at Davis Department Seminar January 2008, and Cal Tech May 2008 (by Cassar).



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