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Age and the development of trust and reciprocity

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  • Matthias Sutter

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  • Martin G. Kocher

Abstract

We examine the degree of trust and reciprocity in an experimental trust game with 662 participants from six different age groups, ranging from 8 year old primary school children to retired persons in their late sixties. Although both trust and reciprocity have been identified as fundamental pillars for smooth and efficient economic interactions, economic research has devoted surprisingly little attention to their development with age. Our results provide clear evidence that trust in anonymous partners increases almost linearly from early childhood to early adulthood, but stays constant afterwards. Reciprocity prevails in all age groups, although its degree also seems to increase with age.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2004-01.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2004-01

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Keywords: trust; reciprocity; age; development; experiment;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Carsten Schmidt & Matthias Sutter & Werner Güth, 2005. "Bargaining Outside the Lab - A Newspaper Experiment of a Three-Person Ultimatum Game," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  2. Hong, Kesseley & Bohnet, Iris, 2004. "Status and Distrust: The Relevance of Inequality and Betrayal Aversion," Working Paper Series rwp04-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Holm, Håkan & Nystedt, Paul, 2006. "Collective Trust Behavior," Working Papers 2007:1, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  4. Greig, Fiona & Bohnet, Iris, 2005. "Is There Reciprocity in a Reciprocal Exchange Economy? Evidence from a Slum in Nairobi, Kenya," Working Paper Series rwp05-044, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Rosemarie Nagel & Juan Vicente Sánchez-Andrés, 2007. "Social capabilities in Alzheimer’s patients," Economics Working Papers 1020, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  6. Gachter, Simon & Herrmann, Benedikt & Thoni, Christian, 2004. "Trust, voluntary cooperation, and socio-economic background: survey and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 505-531, December.
  7. Matthias Sutter, 2003. "On the nature of fair behavior and its development with age –," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-25, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.

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