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A Nation-Wide Laboratory: Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Surveys

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Author Info

  • Fehr, Ernst

    ()
    (University of Zurich)

  • Fischbacher, Urs

    ()
    (University of Zurich)

  • von Rosenbladt, Bernhard

    ()
    (affiliation not available)

  • Schupp, Jürgen

    ()
    (DIW Berlin)

  • Wagner, Gert G.

    ()
    (DIW Berlin)

Abstract

Typically, laboratory experiments suffer from homogeneous subject pools and self-selection 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 noninteracting respondents in a smooth and inexpensive way. We illustrate the power of our approach with the analysis of trust and trustworthiness in Germany by combining 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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 715.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Schmollers Jahrbuch: Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften / Journal of Applied Social Science Studies, 2002, 122 (4), 519-542; see IZA Reprints 179/03
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp715

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

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References

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2004. "Robustness And Real Consequences Of Nominal Wage Rigidity," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 0409025, EconWPA.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette, 2007. "The Robustness and Real Consequences of Nominal Wage Rigidity," Kiel Working Papers 1343, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
  4. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  5. David J. Cooper, 1999. "Gaming against Managers in Incentive Systems: Experimental Results with Chinese Students and Chinese Managers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 781-804, September.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
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