UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Yasuyuki Sawada, University of Tokyo

Does Infrastructure Facilitate Social Capital Accumulation? Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in a Developing Country

Date and Location

Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 4:10 PM - 5:30 PM

Abstract

While social capital is recognized essential for economic activities, its accumulation mechanisms are largely unexplored. We investigate the impact of infrastructure on social capital accumulation. We use unique dataset from an irrigation project in Sri Lanka under a natural experimental situation where a significant portion of irrigated land was allocated through a lottery mechanism. Also, we capture the level of social capital using artefactual field experiments. By combining these two datasets, we find that physical distance embedded by construction of irrigation system explain the trust across irrigation communities. Yet, within-community variation in social capital is driven largely by the years of access to the irrigation and not necessarily affected by social distance between farmers, suggesting that social preference emerges from technological environment by physical access to irrigation.

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