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 predict decisions in the risk game, but not the trust game.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 06112.
Date of creation: 31 Dec 2006
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Other versions of this item:
- Houser, Daniel & Schunk, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2006. "Trust Games Measure Trust," Discussion Papers in Economics 1350, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- 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
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