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It takes two to cheat: An experiment on derived trust

Author

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  • Bigoni, Maria
  • Bortolotti, Stefania
  • Casari, Marco
  • Gambetta, Diego

Abstract

Social life offers innumerable instances in which trust decisions involve multiple agents. Of particular interest is the case when a breach of trust is not profitable if carried out in isolation, but requires an agreement among agents. In such situations the pattern of behaviors is richer than in dyadic games, because even opportunistic trustees who would breach trust when alone may act trustworthily based on what they believe to be the predominant course of action. Anticipating this, trusters may be more inclined to trust. We dub these motivations derived trustworthiness and derived trust. To capture them, we design a “Collective Trust Game” and study it by means of a laboratory experiment. We report that overall levels of trustworthiness are almost thirty percentage points higher when derived motivations are present, and this generates also higher levels of trust. In our set-up, the effects of derived trustworthiness are comparable in size to positive reciprocity, and more important than concerns for equality.

Suggested Citation

  • Bigoni, Maria & Bortolotti, Stefania & Casari, Marco & Gambetta, Diego, 2013. "It takes two to cheat: An experiment on derived trust," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 129-146.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:64:y:2013:i:c:p:129-146
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2013.08.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. James Bland & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2013. "Tacit Coordination in Games with Third-Party Externalities," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Landeo, Claudia M. & Spier, Kathryn E., 2015. "Incentive contracts for teams: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 496-511.
    3. Tagat, Anirudh & Kapoor, Hansika, 2017. "The trust broker game: A three-player trust game with probabilistic returns and information asymmetry," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-33, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. Bland, James & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2015. "Coordination with third-party externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1-15.
    5. Bryan C. McCannon & Colleen Tokar Asaad & Mark Wilson, 2015. "Contracts and Trust," Working Papers 15-15, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trust game; Coordination; Inequality aversion; Reciprocity; Collective trust;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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