to determine whether someone is trusting, ask
him about specific instances of past trusting behaviors. To deter-
mine whether someone is trustworthy, ask him if he trusts others.
There are two additional sets of results from these experi-
ments. First, social connection strongly predicts trustworthiness
and weakly predicts trust. In particular, national and racial
differences between partners strongly predict a tendency to cheat
QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS
Second, individual characteristics that relate to family sta-
tus, social skill, and charisma strongly predict one’s total financial
returns in the trust experiment. These variables matter because
people in our sample are less likely to cheat individuals with these
characteristics. These results suggest that some people have
‘‘individual social capital,’’ a subcomponent of human capital that
reflects an ability to earn returns from social situations.
There are three major implications of this paper for future
research. First, social capital is a meaningful, individual-level
variable that can be studied with the tools of price theory.
evidence supports the view that human capital includes not only
cognitive and physical abilities but also social capital, e.g.,
interpersonal skills, status, and access to social networks (as in
Bowles and Gintis ).
Second, standard survey questions about trust do not appear
to measure trust. However, they do measure trustworthiness,
which is one ingredient of social capital.