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Incentivising trust

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  • Pamela Lenton

    ()
    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

  • Paul Mosley

    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

Abstract

We argue that trust can be incentivised by measures which increase the ability of trusters to protect themselves against risk. We work within the framework originally established by Berg, Dickhaut and McCabe (1995) in which trust is measured experimentally as the ability to generate reciprocity in response to an initial offer of money within a two-person game. An incentive is conveyed both by means of variations in the multiplier applied to the first player’s initial offer and by giving the first player the opportunity to insure themselves against the possibility that the second player will fail to reciprocate their initial offer. Measured trust is strongly responsive to both these incentives. Thus third parties have the ability to influence the outcome of the game, not only, as in the analysis of Charness et al (2008), by punishing failure to reciprocate and rewarding ‘good’ initial offers, but also by offering protection which strengthens the first player’s risk efficacy, or ratio of assets to risk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2009004.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision: Mar 2009
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2009004

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Keywords: Experimental economics; Game theory; Risk; Reciprocity;

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References

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Michael Kosfeld, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundations of Trust and Social Preferences: Initial Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 346-351, May.
  2. René Fahr & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2008. "Identifying personality traits to enhance trust between organisations: an experimental approach," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 469-487.
  3. Abigail Barr, 2003. "Trust and expected trustworthiness: experimental evidence from zimbabwean villages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 614-630, 07.
  4. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia, 2008. "An investment game with third-party intervention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 18-28, October.
  5. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Kosfeld, Michael, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundation of Trust and Social Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 5127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. John Hudson, 2006. "Institutional Trust and Subjective Well-Being across the EU," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 43-62, 02.
  8. Andreas Ortmann & John Fitzgerald & Carl Boeing, 2000. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History: A Re-examination," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 81-100, June.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Ernst Fehr & Martin Brown & Christian Zehnder, 2009. "On Reputation: A Microfoundation of Contract Enforcement and Price Rigidity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 333-353, 03.
  12. Charness, Gary B & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2008. "Broken Promises: An Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6836m74q, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  13. Ben-Ner, Avner & Halldorsson, Freyr, 2010. "Trusting and trustworthiness: What are they, how to measure them, and what affects them," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 64-79, February.
  14. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  15. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
  16. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "Free to Trust: Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 141-169, 05.
  17. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Trust, Risk and Betrayal," Working Paper Series rwp03-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  18. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Orazio Attanasio & Luca Pellerano & Sandra Polanía Reyes, 2009. "Building Trust? Conditional Cash Transfer Programmes and Social Capital," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(2), pages 139-177, 06.
  20. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  21. Paul F. Whiteley, 2000. "Economic Growth and Social Capital," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 48(3), pages 443-466, 06.
  22. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  23. Holm, Håkan & Nystedt, Paul, 2008. "Trust in surveys and games - A methodological contribution on the influence of money and location," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 522-542, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Johnson, Noel D. & Mislin, Alexandra A., 2011. "Trust games: A meta-analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 865-889.

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