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Does players’ identification affect trust and reciprocity in the lab?

  • Dubois, D.
  • Willinger, M.
  • Blayac, T.

Reputation mechanisms are mainly based on information sharing by traders about private trading experience. Each trader can therefore rely on his own past experience as a trader and on other traders’ past experience. The former is the direct component of the reputation mechanism and the latter the indirect component (Bolton, Katok, & Ockenfels, 2004a, 2004b). We design an experiment for isolating the direct component of the reputation system and studying its effect on the level of trust and reciprocity in a population where agents play both roles (trustor and trustee). Our experiment consists on three treatments of a finitely repeated investment game (Berg, Dickhaut, & McCabe, 1995). In the reference treatment there is no reputation mechanism at all, in treatment 1 trustees can build up a direct reputation, and in treatment two players can build up a direct reputation for both roles. We find that trustees’ direct reputation has a positive effect on reciprocity, but does not affect the average trust in the population. Trust is significantly higher only when players can build up a reputation in both roles. We show that the increase in trust is mainly linked to the formation of mutual trust–reciprocity relations.

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

Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 303-317

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:303-317
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-09, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  2. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
  5. Paul Resnick & Richard Zeckhauser & John Swanson & Kate Lockwood, 2006. "The value of reputation on eBay: A controlled experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 79-101, June.
  6. Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 1996. "A Strategic Model of Social and Economic Networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 44-74, October.
  7. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, 06.
  8. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  11. Cochard, Francois & Nguyen Van, Phu & Willinger, Marc, 2004. "Trusting behavior in a repeated investment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 31-44, September.
  12. David Lucking-Reiley & Doug Bryan & Naghi Prasad & Daniel Reeves, 2007. "PENNIES FROM EBAY: THE DETERMINANTS OF PRICE IN ONLINE AUCTIONS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 223-233, 06.
  13. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
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