In this study I examine whether an innovative government program in Ichikawa, Japan has been successful in increasing the level of generalized interpersonal trust in the community by rewarding civic participation by local citizens. Japan has sponsored the development of a number of “community currency” programs at the local level that are designed to create social capital. A community currency is a local “money” that is only useable within a neighborhood or town. In a typical community currency program, a town rewards civic volunteers with credits to barter with other citizens, use at participating stores, or pay for town services. These programs are specifically designed to stimulate generalized trust by rewarding civic engagement and encouraging social interaction. I evaluate whether the new Tekona community currency program in Ichikawa, Japan has been successful in raising levels of trust among participants, as compared to a randomly selected control group of town residents. I find that community currency involvement increases general trust, which demonstrates that it is possible to institute government programs that create social capital.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2007
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