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Social embedding as a solution to a control problem? Evidence from Vietnamese small business* - page 37 / 52

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large number of exchanges (Axelrod 1984; Gibbons 1992). Moreover, our findings are

generally consistent with a thesis that markets do not exist where quality problems are

serious (Akerlof 1970). Third, social embeddedness and social capital more generally are

mechanisms for solving problems and creating benefit, not ends in themselves. The range of

options available to address specific issues and the factors that favor one over another needs

to be more systematically considered.

While we found evidence for the use and effectiveness of social embedding to filter

partners and pool risks, in the process of reporting on our analysis, we have become painfully

aware that much of the evidence for the effectiveness of social capital emanates from

countries and regions, such as rural India, the Philippines, and Africa, that are not known for

their economic performance. Some of the U.S. and European evidence for the social

embedding stems from observing the survival strategies for the poor. Explanations for

economic growth will probably need to be found elsewhere.

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