Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 77–95 | Cite as

Socialisation, trust and reciprocity among young people

  • Matteo Migheli
Open Access


This paper analyzes the contribution of youth’s different time allocations to positive behaviors in exchanges. Psychologists highlight that time spent within voluntary organizations fosters positive development. The paper aims at deepening the knowledge of the psychological bases of the observed outcomes of a basic trust game. Undergraduate students played a basic trust game; after this, information about the use of their spare time was collected. Higher passed amounts positively correlate with time spent in youth organizations. The main novelties of the paper are: the way social capital is measured and the strong link with the psychological literature.


C93 D01 Z13 


trust reciprocity social capital 


  1. Berg, J. E., J. Dickhaut and K. McCabe (1995), “Trust, Reciprocity and Social History”, Games and Economic Behavior, 10, pp. 122–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bouckaert, J., and G. Dhaene (2004), “Inter-Ethnic Trust and Reciprocity: Results of an Experiment with Small Businessmen”, European Journal of Political Economy, 20, pp. 869–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brehm, J., and W. Rahn (1997), “Individual-level Evidence for the Causes and Consequences of Social Capital”, American Journal of Political Science, 41, pp. 999–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caldwin, L. L., and C. K. Baldwin (2003), “The Role of Leisure Time and Recreation Activities in Positive Youth Development”, in: Community Youth Development. Programs, Policies and Practices, F. A. Villaruel, D. F. Perkins, L. M. Borden and J. G. Keith, eds, London: SAGE Publication.Google Scholar
  5. Camerer, C. (2003), Behavioral Game Theory. Experiments in Strategic Interaction, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Claibourn, M. P., and P. S. Martin (2000), “Trusting and Joining? An Empirical Test of the Reciprocal Nature of Social Capital”, Political Behaviour, 22, pp. 267–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Croson, R., and N. Buchan (1999), “Gender and Culture: International Experimental Evidence from Trust Games”, The American Economic Review, 89, pp. 386–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Durlauf, S. N., and M. Fafchamps (2004), “Social Capital”, in Handbook of Economic Growth, P. Aghion and S. Durlauf, eds, pp. 1639–1699; Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  9. Easterly, W. (2001), The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics, Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  10. Eckel C., and P. J. Grossman (2000), “Volunteers and Pseudo-Volunteers: The Effect of Recruitment Method in Dictator Experiments”, Experimental Economics, 3, pp. 107–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fehr, E., and K. M. Schmidt (1999), “A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108, pp. 437–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Furano, K., P. A. Roaf, M. B. Styles and A. Y. Branch (1993), Big Brothers/Big Sisters: a Study of Program Practices, Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures.Google Scholar
  13. Hansen, D. M., R. W. Larson and J. B. Dworkin (2003), “What Adolescents Learn in Organized Youth Activities: a Survey of Self-Reported Developmental Experiences”, Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13, pp. 25–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harris-White, B. (2003), “India’s Pluralism and Its Implications for the Economy”, in India Working: Essays on Society and Economy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Harter, S. (1990), “Self and Identity Development”, in: At the Threshold: the Developing Adolescent, S.S. Feldman and G.R. Elliot, eds., Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hurtes, K. P., L. R. Allen, B. W. Stevens and C. Lee (2000), “Benefit-Based Programming: Making an Impact on Youth”,Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 18, pp. 34–49.Google Scholar
  17. Jennings, M. K., and L. Stoker (2004), “Social Trust and Civic Engagement across Time and Generations”, Acta Politica, 39, pp. 342–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jarret, R. L., P. J. Sullivan and N. D. Watkins (2005), “Developing Social Capital Through Participation in Organized Youth Programs: Qualitative Insights from Three Programs”, Journal of Community Psychology, 33, pp. 41–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Karlan, D. (2005), “Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions”, The American Economic Review, 95, pp. 1688–1699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kleiber, D. A., and C. E. Kirshnit (1991), “Sport Involvement and Identity Formation”, in: Mini-body Maturity: Psychological Approaches to Sport, Exercise and Fitness, L. Diamante, ed., New York: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  21. Kleiber, D. A. (1999), Leisure Experience and Human Development: A Dialectical Interpretation, New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  22. Krawczyk, M. (2011), “What Brings Your Subjects to the Lab? A Field Experiment”, Experimental Economics, in press.Google Scholar
  23. Larson, R. W. (1994), “Youth Organizations, Hobbies and Sports as Developmental Contexts”, in: Adolescence in Context, R. K. Silbereisen, E. Todt and G. Rudinger, eds, New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  24. Larson, R. W. (2000), “Towards a Psychology of Positive Youth Development”, American Psychologist, 55, pp. 170–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McCabe, K. A., M. L. Rigdon and V. L. Smith (2003), “Positive Reciprocity and Intentions in Trust Games”, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 52 pp. 267–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Meier, S., and B. S. Frey (2004), “Do Business Students Make Good Citizens?”, International Journal of the Economics of Business, 11, pp. 141–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Migheli, M. (forthcoming), “Assessing Trust through Social Capital? A Possible Experimental Answer”, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.Google Scholar
  28. Putnam, R. (1993), Making Democracy Work. Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rich, G. J. (2003), “The Positive Psychology of Youth and Adolescence”, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32 pp. 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rotemberg, J. (2004), Minimally Acceptable Altruism and the Ultimatum Game, Harvard University, mimeo.Google Scholar
  31. Shah, D. (1998), “Civic Engagement, Interpersonal Trust, and Television Use: an Individual-level Assessment of Social Capital”, Political Psychology, 19, pp. 469–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stanley, T. D., and U. Tran (1998), “Economics Students Need not Be Greedy: Fairness and the Ultimatum Game”, Journal of Socio-Economics, 27, pp. 657–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stolle, D., and M. Hooghe (2004), “The Roots of Social Capital: Attitudinal and Network Mechanisms in the Relation between Youth and Adult Indicators of Social Capital”, Acta Politica, 39, pp. 422–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tierney, J. P., J. B. Grossman and N. L. Resch (1995), “Leisure and Identity Formation in Male and Female Adolescents: a Preliminary Examination”, Journal of Leisure Research, 27, pp. 245–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Uslaner, E. M. (2002), The Moral Foundations of Trust. New York, Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Weissberg, R. P., and M. U. O’Brien (2004), “What Works in School-Based Social and Emotional Learning Programs for Positive Youth Development”, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 591, pp. 86–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yunus, M. (2003), The Banker to the Poor. Jackson TN: Perseus Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lecturer of MathematicsUniversity of Eastern PiedmontItaly

Personalised recommendations