A Caltech Library Service

Measuring Norms of Income Transfers: Trust Experiments and Survey Data from Vietnam

Tanaka, Tomomi and Camerer, Colin F. and Nguyen, Quang (2009) Measuring Norms of Income Transfers: Trust Experiments and Survey Data from Vietnam. Working Paper Series, California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


This paper compares the patterns of income transfers within village communities in the north and south of Vietnam by analyzing household survey and experimental data. The results of household data analysis show private transfers flow from high-income households to low-income households in the south where social safety net is limited. In contrast, private transfers do not correlate with pre-transfer income in the north where public transfers are more widespread. In addition, public transfers crowd out private transfers in the north. We conducted a trust game in both regions and found consistent results. People in the south are more altruistic toward the poor: they send more to the poor without expecting higher repayment. This pattern is consistent with the idea that private norms of redistribution from rich to poor are active in the south, but are crowded out in the north, possibly by communist public institutions, although we observe higher levels of trust and reciprocity in the north.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Camerer, Colin F.0000-0003-4049-1871
Additional Information:This research was supported by a Behavioral Economics Small Grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, Foundation for Advanced Studies on International Development, and internal Caltech funds (CFC). Comments from participants at the ESA meeting (Tucson, October 2005), SEA meeting (November 2005), SJDM (November 2005), audiences at Columbia, NYU, Bocconi (Milano), Emory, Hawaii, Caltech, UCSC, and anonymous referees were helpful. Thank you to our research coordinators, Phan Dinh Khoi, Huynh Truong Huy, Nguyen Anh Quan, Nguyen Mau Dung, and research assistants, Bui Thanh Sang, Nguyen The Du, Ngo Nguyen Thanh Tam, Pham Thanh Xuan, Nguyen Minh Duc, Tran Quang Trung, and Tran Tat Nhat. We also thank Nguyen The Quan, the General Statistical Office, for allowing us to access the 2002 household survey data.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Russell Sage Foundation Behavioral Economics Small GrantUNSPECIFIED
Foundation for Advanced Studies on International DevelopmentUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Working Paper Series
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110310-145856119
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22815
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Feb 2012 22:25
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 02:40

Repository Staff Only: item control page