Trust Games Measure Trust
AbstractThe relationship between trust and risk is a topic of enduring interest. Although there are substantial differences between the ideas the terms express, many researchers from different disciplines have pointed out that these two concepts become very closely related in personal exchange contexts. This raises the important practical concern over whether behaviors in the widely-used “trust game” actually measure trust, or instead reveal more about risk attitudes. It is critical to confront this question rigorously, as data from these games are increasingly used to support conclusions from a wide variety of fields including macroeconomic development, social psychology and cultural anthropology. The aim of this paper is to provide cogent evidence on the relationship between trust and risk in “trust” games. Subjects in our experiment participate either in a trust game or in its risk game counterpart. In the trust version, subjects play a standard trust game and know their counterparts are human. In the risk version, subjects know their counterparts are computers making random decisions. We compare decisions between these treatments, and also correlate behavior with subjects’ risk attitudes as measured by the Holt and Laury (2002) risk instrument. We provide evidence that trusting behavior is different than behavior under risk. In particular, (i) decisions patterns in our trust and risk games are significantly different; and (ii) risk attitudes correlate with decisions in the risk game, but not the trust game.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 1350.
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
trust; risk attitudes; laboratory experiments;
Other versions of this item:
- Daniel Houser & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter, 2006. "Trust Games Measure Trust," MEA discussion paper series 06112, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
- Houser, Daniel & Schunk, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2006. "Trust Games Measure Trust," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 06-14, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-01-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2007-01-02 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2007-01-02 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2007-01-02 (Game Theory)
- NEP-SOC-2007-01-02 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
- NEP-UPT-2007-01-02 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
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.:
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