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Trust and Reciprocity, Empowerment and Transparency

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Author Info

  • Kiridaran Kanagaretnam
  • Stuart Mestelman
  • S. M. Khalid Nainar
  • Mohamed Shehata

Abstract

In a laboratory-controlled environment characterized by uncertainty and incomplete information we provide experimental evidence on the effects of transparency and empowerment on trust (investment by a principal) and trustworthiness (reciprocal behavior of an agent) in a simple two-person investment game. We find that when principals are empowered by being able to punish agents who may not act in a way the principal believes is in the principal’s best interest, trust and investment increases over that which is realized in the absence of empowerment. We also find that when asymmetric or incomplete information characterizes the investment game the levels of trust (investment) are lower than when information is complete (the environment is transparent). In transparent environments the effect of empowerment is about the same regardless of whether empowerment is introduced or removed. However, in opaque environments, the loss of empowerment has a substantially greater negative effect on trust that the positive effect associated with the introduction of empowerment. While this environment is substantially abstracted from the naturally occurring environment, these results suggest that practical public policies designed to increase transparency in financial transactions are likely to have positive effects on investment. Furthermore, public policies designed to empower principals, such as the Say on Pay practices, are likely to increase investment while the limitation of the empowerment of principals with respect to their agents (consistent with deregulation) will have a much more dramatic negative impact on trust (and investment).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2012-12.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2012-12

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Keywords: investment; empowerment; veto; trust; trustworthiness; reciprocity; say on pay;

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References

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  1. Andreoni,J., 2005. "Trust, reciprocity, and contract enforcement : experiments on satisfaction guaranteed," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Brandts, J. & Figueras, N., 1997. "An Exploration of Reputation Formation in Experimental Games," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 404.97, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  4. Giorgio Coricelli & Luis González Morales & Amelie Mahlstedt, 2006. "The Investment Game With Asymmetric Information," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 13-30, 02.
  5. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 362-366, May.
  6. James C. Cox & Cary A. Deck, 2006. "Assigning Intentions when Actions Are Unobservable: The Impact of Trembling in the Trust Game," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 307–314, October.
  7. Anderhub, Vital & Engelmann, Dirk & Guth, Werner, 2002. "An experimental study of the repeated trust game with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 197-216, June.
  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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  1. Weekly Roundup 193: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
    by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2012-11-21 18:53:28

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