Social norms, information, and trust among strangers: theory and evidence
AbstractCan a social norm of trust and reciprocity emerge among strangers? We investigate this question by examining behavior in an experiment where subjects repeatedly play a two-player binary “trust” game. Players are randomly and anonymously paired with one another in each period. The main questions addressed are whether a social norm of trust and reciprocity emerges under the most extreme information restriction (anonymous community-wide enforcement) or whether trust and reciprocity require additional, individual-specific information about a player’s past history of play and whether that information must be provided freely or at some cost. In the absence of such reputational information, we find that a social norm of trust and reciprocity is difficult to sustain. The provision of reputational information on past individual decisions significantly increases trust and reciprocity, with longer histories yielding the best outcomes. Importantly, we find that making reputational information available at a small cost may also lead to a significant improvement in trust and reciprocity, despite the fact that most subjects do not choose to purchase this information. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.
Volume (Year): 52 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00199/index.htm
Other versions of this item:
- John Duffy & Huan Xie & Yong-Ju Lee, 2008. "Social Norms, Information and Trust among Strangers: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 08007, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2001.
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2004.
"How Effective Are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation,"
INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1587-1602, November.
- Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "How Effective are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Working Paper Series in Economics 3, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, .
"A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation,"
IEW - Working Papers
004, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
- Martin Brown & Christian Zehnder, 2007.
"Credit Reporting, Relationship Banking, and Loan Repayment,"
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking,
Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(8), pages 1883-1918, December.
- Martin Brown & Christian Zehnder, 2006. "Credit Reporting, Relationship Banking, and Loan Repayment," Working Papers 2006-03, Swiss National Bank.
- Pedro Dal Bo, 2001.
"Social Norms, Cooperation and Inequality,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
802, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Gabriele Camera & Marco Casari, 2009. "Cooperation among Strangers under the Shadow of the Future," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 979-1005, June.
- Michi Kandori, 2010.
"Social Norms and Community Enforcement,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
630, David K. Levine.
- Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
- John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2004.
"Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction,"
122247000000000108, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Duffy, John & Ochs, Jack, 2009. "Cooperative behavior and the frequency of social interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 785-812, July.
- John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2006. "Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction," Working Papers 274, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
- John Duffy & Jack Ochs, 2004. "Cooperative Behavior and the Frequency of Social Interaction," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000000060, David K. Levine.
- Ellison, Glenn, 1994.
"Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 567-88, July.
- Glen Ellison, 2010. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Levine's Working Paper Archive 631, David K. Levine.
- Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
- Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
- Paul R. Milgrom & Douglass C. North & Barry R. Weingast, 1990. "The Role Of Institutions In The Revival Of Trade: The Law Merchant, Private Judges, And The Champagne Fairs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, 03.
- Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
- Brown, M. & Serra Garcia, M., 2010. "Relational Contracting Under the Threat of Expropriation – Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper 2010-85, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Charness, Gary & Du, Ninghua & Yang, Chun-Lei, 2011. "Trust and trustworthiness reputations in an investment game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 361-375, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.