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Social Capital and Trust in Cameroon

David Fielding and Stephen Knowles, with Alvin Etang (former PhD student, now at the World Bank)

This research project involved two different field trips (by Alvin Etang) to Cameroon to obtain measures of the level of trust in villages in rural Cameroon, using both an economic experiment (the Trust Game) and surveys. Three different papers have been published based on this work. The first paper finds that the level of trust is high in rural Cameroon and that there is a positive correlation between the level of experimental trust and membership of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs).

The second paper examines the extent to which people in rural Cameroon are more trusting of those from their own village, than they are of people from a neighbouring village, using data from the Trust Game. Participants also took part in a Triple Dictator Game and a Risk Game to test whether Trust Game donations may, in part, be motivated by altruism or risk aversion. The third paper analyses whether people’s behaviour in the Trust Game experiments is correlated with their responses to survey questions about trust.


Etang, A., Fielding, D. and Knowles S. (2011) “Trust and ROSCA membership in rural Cameroon”, Journal of International Development 23(4):461-475.

Etang, A., Fielding, D. and Knowles S (2011) “Does trust extend beyond the village? Experimental trust and social distance in Cameroon”, Experimental Economics 14(1): 15-35.

Etang. A., Fielding, D. and Knowles, S. (2012) “Are Survey Measures of Trust Correlated with Experimental Trust? Evidence from Cameroon”, Journal of Development Studies, 48(12): 1813-1827.