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.