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Measuring people's trust

Listed author(s):
  • John Ermisch
  • Diego Gambetta
  • Heather Laurie
  • Thomas Siedler
  • S. C. Noah Uhrig

We measure trust and trustworthiness in British society with a newly designed experiment using real monetary rewards and a sample of the British population. The study also asks the typical survey question that aims to measure trust, showing that it does not predict 'trust' as measured in the experiment. Overall, about 40% of people were willing to trust a stranger in our experiment, and their trust was rewarded half of the time. Analysis of variation in the trust behaviour in our survey suggests that trusting is more likely if people are older, their financial situation is either 'comfortable' or 'difficult' compared with 'doing alright' or 'just getting by', they are a homeowner or they are divorced, separated or never married compared with those who are married or cohabiting. Trustworthiness also is more likely among subjects who are divorced or separated relative to those who are married or cohabiting, and less likely among subjects who perceive their financial situation as 'just getting by' or 'difficult'. We also analyse the effect of attitudes towards risks on trust. Copyright (c) 2009 Royal Statistical Society.

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Article provided by Royal Statistical Society in its journal Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society).

Volume (Year): 172 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 749-769

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jorssa:v:172:y:2009:i:4:p:749-769
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  1. Bellemare, C. & Kroger, S., 2003. "On Representative Trust," Discussion Paper 2003-47, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Bellemare, C. & Kroger, S., 2004. "On Representative Social Capital," Discussion Paper 2004-57, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  8. Sapienza, Paola & Toldra Simats, Anna & Zingales, Luigi, 2007. "Understanding Trust," CEPR Discussion Papers 6462, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. repec:dgr:kubcen:200347 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Eckel, Catherine C. & Wilson, Rick K., 2004. "Is trust a risky decision?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 447-465, December.
  11. Bohnet, Iris & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2003. "Trust, Risk and Betrayal," Working Paper Series rwp03-041, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  12. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  13. Belot, Michèle & Ermisch, John, 2006. "Friendship ties and geographical mobility: evidence from the BHPS," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-33, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  14. Peter Morrison, 1971. "Chronic movers and the future redistribution of population: A longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 8(2), pages 171-184, May.
  15. Abigail Barr, 2003. "Trust and expected trustworthiness: experimental evidence from zimbabwean villages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 614-630, 07.
  16. Ermisch, John & Gambetta, Diego, 2006. "People's trust: the design of a survey-based experiment," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-34, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  17. Steven Levitt & John List, 2007. "What do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World," Artefactual Field Experiments 00480, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Iris Bohnet & Heike Harmgart & Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Learning Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 322-329, 04/05.
  19. Bohnet, Iris & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "Trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 443-445, December.
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