Is There Reciprocity in a Reciprocal-Exchange Economy? Evidence of Gendered Norms from a Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Economic Inquiry, Vol. 46, Issue 1, pp. 77-83, January 2008

7 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2008

See all articles by Fiona Greig

Fiona Greig

JPMorgan Chase Institute

Iris Bohnet

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: 2008-03-11

Abstract

Norms of reciprocity help enforce cooperative agreements in bilateral sequential exchange. We examine the norms that apply in a reciprocal-exchange economy. In our one-shot investment game in a Nairobi slum, people adhered to the norm of balanced reciprocity, which obligates quid-pro-quo returns for any level of trust. The norm is gendered, with people more likely to comply when confronted with women rather than men, and differs from conditional reciprocity, prevalent in developed countries, according to which greater trust is rewarded with proportionally larger returns. Balanced reciprocity produces less trust and trustworthiness and smaller gains from trade than conditional reciprocity. (JEL C72, C91)

Suggested Citation

Greig, Fiona and Bohnet, Iris, Is There Reciprocity in a Reciprocal-Exchange Economy? Evidence of Gendered Norms from a Slum in Nairobi, Kenya (2008-03-11). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 46, Issue 1, pp. 77-83, January 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1105986 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2007.00081.x

Fiona Greig (Contact Author)

JPMorgan Chase Institute ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

Iris Bohnet

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5605 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)

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