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Beliefs and actions in the trust game: Creating instrumental variables to estimate the causal effect

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  • Costa-Gomes, Miguel A.
  • Huck, Steffen
  • Weizsäcker, Georg

Abstract

In many economic contexts, an elusive variable of interest is the agent's belief about relevant events, e.g. about other agents' behavior. A growing number of surveys and experiments asks participants to state beliefs explicitly but little is known about the causal relation between beliefs and actions. This paper discusses the possibility of creating exogenous instrumental variables for belief statements, by informing the agent about exogenous manipulations of the relevant events. We conduct trust game experiments where the amount sent back by the second player (trustee) is exogenously varied. The procedure allows detecting causal links from beliefs to actions under plausible assumptions. The IV-estimated effect is significant, confirming the causal role of beliefs.

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  • Costa-Gomes, Miguel A. & Huck, Steffen & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Beliefs and actions in the trust game: Creating instrumental variables to estimate the causal effect," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 298-309.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:88:y:2014:i:c:p:298-309 DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.10.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias Regner & Gerhard Riener, 2011. "Motivational Cherry Picking," Jena Economic Research Papers 2011-029, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Adriani, Fabrizio & Sonderegger, Silvia, 2015. "Trust, trustworthiness and the consensus effect: An evolutionary approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 102-116.
    3. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    4. Dargnies, Marie-Pierre & Hakimov, Rustamdjan & Kübler, Dorothea, 2016. "Self-confidence and unraveling in matching markets," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2016-210, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Steffen Huck & Tobias Schmidt & Georg Weizsäcker, 2014. "The Standard Portfolio Choice Problem in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 650, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Bracht, Jürgen & Regner, Tobias, 2013. "Moral emotions and partnership," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 313-326.
    7. Costa-Gomes, Miguel A. & Huck, Steffen & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Beliefs and actions in the trust game: Creating instrumental variables to estimate the causal effect," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 298-309.
    8. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2014. "Preferences and beliefs in a sequential social dilemma: a within-subjects analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 122-135.
    9. Harrison, Glenn W. & Martínez-Correa, Jimmy & Swarthout, J. Todd & Ulm, Eric R., 2017. "Scoring rules for subjective probability distributions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 430-448.
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    14. Sonsino, Doron & Shifrin, Max & Lahav, Eyal, 2016. "Disentangling trust from risk-taking: Triadic approach," MPRA Paper 80095, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Francesco Farina & Gianluca Grimalda, 2011. "A cross-country experimental comparison of preferences for redistribution," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 0211, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; Trust game; Instrumental variables; Belief elicitation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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