Research Seminar

Closing the Social Capital Gap? An Experiment in Zambian-Chinese Workplaces – Menusch Khadjavi

25 Jun 2024

24105 Kiel
Kiel Institut für Weltwirtschaft, Kiellinie 66


Menusch Khadjavi (Kiel Institute; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


Chinese investments in Africa and other low-income regions of the world are a debated topic in economics. In order to shed light on the interaction of Chinese firms and local employees, we conducted an experiment with Zambian and Chinese workers in Chinese firms located in Zambia. In our online trust game experiment we investigate how national identity affects homophily and social capital (trust and reciprocity) at the workplace and whether providing information on workplace efforts can narrow the social capital gap between co-workers of different nationalities. Our experiment combines within-subject and between-subject elements. We primed the concept of workplace efforts by incentivizing participants to complete a slider task and recording their completion time. Then we randomly assigned participants to either the baseline treatment or the effort treatment (between-subjects design). In the baseline treatment participants played the trust game with a randomly selected other Chinese or Zambian worker (within-subjects design), while in the effort treatment, participants also made their decisions for the cases in which the other participant was slow, medium, or fast in the slider task. We find that the trust gap between nationalities is larger among Chinese participants than Zambian participants. Participants showed higher trust and reciprocity levels to faster co-players. The effort treatment reduced the trust gap. 


Kacana Khadjavi (Kiel Institute; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) – Menusch Khadjavi (Kiel Institute; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) – Hangwei Li (German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)) – Yiran Wu (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)


Lecture Hall (A-032)