Trust, Reciprocity and Institutional Design: Lessons from Behavioural Economics
AbstractTrust and reciprocity are the bond of society (Locke), but economic agents are both self-interested and intrinsically untrustworthy. These assumptions impair severely economists' accounts of social relationships. The paper examines strategies to escape this paradox by enlarging our conception of rationality: the assumptions of self-interest and consequentialism are critically discussed as well as relational behavioural principles (e.g. trust and reciprocity). The implications of this enlarged kind of rationality are particularly important for agency theory. The paper analyses, within this framework, the working of two different kinds of incentive mechanisms, namely intra-personal and interpersonal, and discusses experimental results that emphasise the empirical relevance of the latter. Besides providing a more descriptively adequate picture of agency, such mechanisms have important normative implications. In this respect some of the conditions that affect the process of accumulation and erosion of trust and social capital are explored. The tension between rules and trust turns out to be not inescapable, though it calls for a changing in the designing logic of institutions and contracts. I shall discuss what are the changes needed in order to implement a trust-enhancing activity of institutional design.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit in its series AICCON Working Papers with number 37-2006.
Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 07 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Incentives; reciprocity; trust; crowding-out; institutional design;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
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.:
- Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002.
"Psychological foundations of incentives,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 687-724, May.
- Ernst Fehr, 2003. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," Microeconomics 0305010, EconWPA.
- Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 3185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, . "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," IEW - Working Papers 095, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Falk, Armin, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 714, CESifo Group Munich.
- E. Fehr & John A. List, .
"The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives - Trust and Trustworthiness among CEOs,"
IEW - Working Papers
134, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, 09.
- Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "THE HIDDEN COSTS AND RETURNS OF INCENTIVES — TRUST AND TRUSTWORTHINESS AMONG CEOs," Labor and Demography 0409012, EconWPA.
- Ernst Fehr & John List, 2004. "The hidden costs and returns of incentives - trust and trustworthiness among ceos," Artefactual Field Experiments 00044, The Field Experiments Website.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, .
"Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys,"
IEW - Working Papers
040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
- Michael Bacharach & Gerardo A. Guerra, 2001. "Is Trust Self-Fulfilling? An Experimental Study," Economics Series Working Papers 76, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1993.
"Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
- M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
- Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
- Robert Gibbons, 1998.
"Incentives in Organizations,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 115-132, Fall.
- Bruno S. Frey & Iris Bohnet, 1999. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 335-339, March.
- Nelson, William Jr., 2002. "Equity or intention: it is the thought that counts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 423-430, August.
- Barkema, Harry G, 1995. "Do Top Managers Work Harder When They Are Monitored?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 19-42.
- Pelligra Vittorio, 2002. "Rispondenza fiduciaria: principi e implicazioni per la progettazione istituzionale," Stato e mercato, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 335-358.
- Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paolo Venturi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.