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Promises as Commitments

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Author Info

  • Ismayilov, H.
  • Potters, J.J.M.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

Abstract: We implement a trust game in which the trustee can write a free-form pre-play message for the trustor. The main twist in our design is that there is a 50% probability that the message is delivered to the trustor and a 50% probability that the message is replaced by an empty sheet. We find that even when messages are not delivered trustees who make a promise are significantly more likely to act trustworthy than those who do not make a promise. This suggests that a promise has a commitment value which is independent of its impact on the trustor. Interestingly, we also find that both trustees who make a promise and those who do not make a promise are more likely to be trustworthy if their message is delivered to the trustor. This means that communication increases trustworthiness irrespective of the content of messages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2012-064.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:2012064

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: Promises; communication; trust; beliefs; experimental economics;

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References

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  1. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  2. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.
  3. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Tjøtta, Sigve & Torsvik, Gaute, 2010. "Testing guilt aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 95-107, January.
  4. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "Promises and Partnership," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000001, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Uri Gneezy, 2005. "Deception: The Role of Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 384-394, March.
  6. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
  7. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2008. "Belief Elicitation in Experiments: Is there a Hedging Problem?," IZA Discussion Papers 3517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  9. Cary Deck & Maroš Servátka & Steven Tucker, 2011. "Comment on "Promises and Partnership"," Working Papers in Economics 11/14, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  10. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2010. "Bare promises: An experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 281-283, May.
  11. Christoph Vanberg, 2008. "Why Do People Keep Their Promises? An Experimental Test of Two Explanations -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1467-1480, November.
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  1. Weekly Roundup 185: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
    by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2012-09-09 17:13:42
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Cited by:
  1. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2012. "Deception: The Role of Guilt," Working Papers 457, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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