IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Trust games: A meta-analysis

  • Johnson, Noel D.
  • Mislin, Alexandra A.

We collect data from 162 replications of the Berg, Dickhaut, and McCabe Investment game (the “trust” game) involving more than 23,000 participants. We conduct a meta-analysis of these games in order to identify the effect of experimental protocols and geographic variation on this popular behavioral measure of trust and trustworthiness. Our findings indicate that the amount sent in the game is significantly affected by whether payment is random, and whether play is with a simulated counterpart. Trustworthiness is significantly affected by the amount by which the experimenter multiplies the amount sent, whether subjects play both roles in the experiment, and whether the subjects are students. We find robust evidence that subjects send less in trust games conducted in Africa than those in North America.

If 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.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 865-889

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:865-889
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Charles Bellemare & Sabine Kroger, 2005. "On Representative Social Capital," Cahiers de recherche 0504, CIRPEE.
  2. Cameron, Lisa A, 1999. "Raising the Stakes in the Ultimatum Game: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 47-59, January.
  3. Bellemare, C. & Kroger, S., 2003. "On Representative Trust," Discussion Paper 2003-47, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Jeffrey Carpenter & Eric Verhoogen & Stephen Burks, 2003. "The Effect of Stakes in Distribution Experiments," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 03-28, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  5. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," CRSP working papers 511, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  6. 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.
  7. Hessel Oosterbeek & Randolph Sloof & Gijs van de Kuilen, 2004. "Cultural differences in ultimatum game experiments: Evidence from a meta-analysis," Experimental 0401003, EconWPA.
  8. Falk, Armin & Meier, Stephan & Zehnder, Christian, 2011. "Did We Overestimate the Role of Social Preferences? The Case of Self-Selected Student Samples," IZA Discussion Papers 5475, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Schupp, Jürgen & von Rosenbladt, Bernhard & Wagner, Gert Georg, 2003. "A Nationwide Laboratory Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioural Experiments into Representative Surveys," CEPR Discussion Papers 3858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Andrei Shleifer, 2009. "Regulation and Distrust," Working Papers hal-00396268, HAL.
  11. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  12. 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.
  13. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
  14. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  15. Slonim, Robert & Guillen, Pablo, 2010. "Gender selection discrimination: Evidence from a Trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 385-405, November.
  16. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2000. "Hot vs. Cold: Sequential Responses and Preference Stability in Experimental Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 227-238, March.
  17. Sutter, Matthias & Kocher, Martin G., 2007. "Trust and trustworthiness across different age groups," Munich Reprints in Economics 18182, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  18. Bolle, Friedel, 1990. "High reward experiments without high expenditure for the experimenter?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 157-167, June.
  19. Simon Gaechter & Benedikt Herrmann & Christian Thoeni, 2010. "Culture and Cooperation," Discussion Papers 2010-09, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  20. Steven Yen, 2002. "An econometric analysis of household donations in the USA," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(13), pages 837-841.
  21. Burnham, Terence & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L., 2000. "Friend-or-foe intentionality priming in an extensive form trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 57-73, September.
  22. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2009. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," NBER Working Papers 14783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  24. Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
  25. Falk, Armin & Heckman, James J., 2009. "Lab Experiments Are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences," IZA Discussion Papers 4540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. Iris Bohnet & Fiona Greig & Benedikt Herrmann & Richard Zeckhauser, 2007. "Betrayal Aversion: Evidence from Brazil, China, Oman, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States," Discussion Papers 2007-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  27. Robert Slonim & Alvin E. Roth, 1998. "Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(3), pages 569-596, May.
  28. Casari, Marco & Cason, Timothy N., 2009. "The strategy method lowers measured trustworthy behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 157-159, June.
  29. David Masclet & Thierry Pénard, 2011. "Do reputation feedback systems really improve trust among anonymous traders? An experimental study," Post-Print halshs-00629500, HAL.
  30. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
  31. Michael Naef & Jürgen Schupp, 2009. "Measuring Trust: Experiments and Surveys in Contrast and Combination," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 167, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  32. Cox, James C., 2004. "How to identify trust and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 260-281, February.
  33. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  34. Lenton, Pamela & Mosley, Paul, 2011. "Incentivising trust," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 890-897.
  35. Ernst Fehr, 2009. "On The Economics and Biology of Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 235-266, 04-05.
  36. Olof Johansson Stenman & Minhaj Mahmud & Peter Martinsson, 2006. "Trust and Religion: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh," Keele Economics Research Papers KERP 2006/10, Centre for Economic Research, Keele University.
  37. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  38. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher & Bernhard von Rosenbladt & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2003. "A Nation-Wide Laboratory. Examining Trust and Trustworthiness by Integrating Behavioral Experiments into Representative Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 866, CESifo Group Munich.
  39. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Verhoogen, Eric, 2003. "Playing both roles in the trust game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-216, June.
  40. Rachel Croson & Uri Gneezy, 2009. "Gender Differences in Preferences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 448-74, June.
  41. Leslie E. Papke & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1993. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(k) Plan Participation Rates," NBER Technical Working Papers 0147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  42. Jennifer Zelmer, 2003. "Linear Public Goods Experiments: A Meta-Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 299-310, November.
  43. Lucy Ackert & Bryan Church & Shawn Davis, 2011. "An experimental examination of the effect of potential revelation of identity on satisfying obligations," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1-2), pages 69-80.
  44. Hans Binswanger, 1980. "Attitudes toward risk: Experimental measurement in rural india," Artefactual Field Experiments 00009, The Field Experiments Website.
  45. Kurtis J. Swope & John Cadigan & Pamela M. Schmitt & Robert S. Shupp, 2005. "Personality Preferences in Laboratory Economics Experiments," Working Papers 200507, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2005.
  46. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Muller, Wieland, 2001. "The Relevance of Equal Splits in Ultimatum Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 161-169, October.
  47. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
  48. Bahry, Donna L. & Wilson, Rick K., 2006. "Confusion or fairness in the field? Rejections in the ultimatum game under the strategy method," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 37-54, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:865-889. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.