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A Nation-Wide Laboratory. Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Survey

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Author Info

  • Ernst Fehr
  • Urs Fischbacher
  • Bernhard von Rosenbladt
  • Jürgen Schupp
  • Gert G. Wagner

Abstract

Typically, laboratory experiments suffer from homogeneous subject pools and selfselection biases. The usefulness of survey data is limited by measurement error and by the questionability of their behavioral relevance. Here we present a method integrating interactive experiments and representative surveys thereby overcoming crucial weaknesses of both approaches. One of the major advantages of our approach is that it allows for the integration of experiments, which require interaction among the participants, with a survey of non-interacting respondents in a smooth and inexpensive way. We illustrate the power of our approach with the analysis of trust and trustworthiness in Germany bycombining representative survey data with representative behavioral data from a social dilemma experiment. We identify which survey questions intended to elicit people’s trust correlate well with behaviorally exhibited trust in the experiment. People above the age of 65, highly skilled workers and people living in bigger households exhibit less trusting behavior. Foreign citizens, Catholics and people favoring the Social Democratic Party or the Christian Democratic Party exhibit more trust. People above the age of 65 and those in good health behave more trustworthy or more altruistically,respectively. People below the age of 35, the unemployed and people who say they are in favor of none of the political parties behave less trustworthy or less altruistically, respectively.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 866.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_866

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Related research

Keywords: experiment; survey; trust; trustworthiness; altruism;

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References

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  1. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," NBER Working Papers 9237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Goette, Lorenz, 2005. "Robustness and real consequences of nominal wage rigidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 779-804, May.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  4. Joseph G. Altonji & Paul J. Devereux, 1999. "The Extent and Consequences of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," NBER Working Papers 7236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "The Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," Kiel Working Papers 1343, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  7. Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L. & Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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