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Trust and Cheating

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  • Jeffrey V. Butler
  • Paola Giuliano
  • Luigi Guiso

Abstract

When we take a cab we may feel cheated if the driver takes an unnecessarily long route despite the lack of a contract or promise to take the shortest possible path. Is our decision to take the cab affected by our belief that we may end up feeling cheated? Is the behavior of the driver affected by his beliefs about what we consider cheating? We address these questions in the context of a trust game by asking participants directly about their notions of cheating. We find that: i) both parties to a trust exchange have implicit notions of what constitutes cheating even in a context without promises or messages; ii) these notions are not unique – the vast majority of senders would feel cheated by a negative return on their trust/investment, whereas a sizable minority defines cheating according to an equal split rule; iii) these implicit notions affect the behavior of both sides to the exchange in terms of whether to trust or cheat and to what extent. Finally, we show that individual's notions of what constitutes cheating can be traced back to two classes of values instilled by parents: cooperative and competitive. The first class of values tends to soften the notion while the other tightens it.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18509.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18509

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  1. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Torero, Maximo & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "Gender differences in bargaining outcomes: A field experiment on discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 35-48.
  2. Ernst Fehr, 2009. "On The Economics and Biology of Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 235-266, 04-05.
  3. Charness, Gary & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4qz9k8vg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Roman Inderst & Marco Ottaviani, 2012. "Financial Advice," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(2), pages 494-512, June.
  5. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  7. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2004. "Trust, risk and betrayal," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 467-484, December.
  8. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
  9. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  10. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
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Cited by:
  1. Oriana Bandiera & Luigi Guiso & Andrea Prat & Raffaella Sadun, 2011. "What Do CEOs Do?," EIEF Working Papers Series 1101, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2010.
  2. Conzo, Pierluigi, 2014. "Trust and Cheating in Sri Lanka: The Role of Experimentally-Induced Emotions about Tsunami," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201403, University of Turin.
  3. Dessi, Roberta & Monin, Benoît, 2012. "Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness," IDEI Working Papers 750, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Luigi Guiso, 2012. "Trust & Insurance Markets," EIEF Working Papers Series 1207, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Jul 2012.
  5. Dessi, Roberta & Monin, Benoît, 2012. "Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness," TSE Working Papers 12-347, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

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