Social capital is one of the main determinants of community resource management success. We use the (average) amount sent in a trust game as a measure of social capital in five rural villages in India. Combining these experimental data with household surveys we analyze: (i) how the amount sent is correlated with socio-cultural community characteristics, (ii) how social capital affects community resource management, and (iii) to what extent experimental play is consistent with real on-farm behavior in terms of providing a semi-public good. The results are interesting from a policy perspective, and provide insight into (bridging) the gap between lab experiments and the field. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.