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Lavish returns on cheap talk: Two-way communication in trust games

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  • Ben-Ner, Avner
  • Putterman, Louis
  • Ren, Ting

Abstract

We conduct trust game experiments in which subjects can sometimes exchange proposals either in numerical (tabular) form, or using chat messages followed by exchange of numerical proposals. Numerical communication significantly increases trusting and trustworthiness; inclusion of 1-min verbal communication in a chat room generates an even larger and more robust effect. On average, trustors send $9.21 of their $10 endowment as compared to $7.66 in the standard trust game, and trustees return 56% vs. 45%. Chat enhances the likelihood that trustors and trustees will adhere to non-binding agreements they make--an additional interpretation of trusting and trustworthiness--and increases the probability that subjects will propose, accept, and abide by equal-division agreements. Analysis of the content of subjects' verbal communication shows that what is said, and not only the fact that things are said, significantly affects outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis & Ren, Ting, 2011. "Lavish returns on cheap talk: Two-way communication in trust games," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:40:y:2011:i:1:p:1-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schniter, Eric & Sheremeta, Roman, 2014. "Predictable and Predictive Emotions: Explaining Cheap Signals and Trust Re-Extension," MPRA Paper 59665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Khalmetski, Kiryl, 2016. "Testing guilt aversion with an exogenous shift in beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 110-119.
    3. Philipp Doerrenberg & Jan Schmitz, 2017. "Tax compliance and information provision. A field experiment with small firms," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 1(1), pages 47-54, February.
    4. Roman M. Sheremeta & Jingjing Zhang, 2014. "Three-Player Trust Game With Insider Communication," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 576-591, April.
    5. Giovanni Di Bartolomeo & Stefano Papa, 2016. "Some Determinants of Trust Formation and Pro-social Behaviours in Investment Games: An Experimental Study," Studies in Microeconomics, , vol. 4(1), pages 13-26, June.
    6. Adam Zylbersztejn, 2013. "Strategic signaling or emotional sanctioning? An experimental study of ex post communication in a repeated public goods game," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13011, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    7. repec:spr:jeicoo:v:12:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11403-016-0177-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Adam Zylbersztejn, 2015. "Nonverbal Feedback, Strategic Signaling, and Nonmonetary Sanctioning: New Experimental Evidence from a Public Goods Game," Research in Experimental Economics,in: Replication in Experimental Economics, volume 18, pages 153-181 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    9. repec:beh:jbepv1:v:1:y:2017:i:1:p:61-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lei, Vivian & Masclet, David & Vesely, Filip, 2014. "Competition vs. communication: An experimental study on restoring trust," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 94-107.
    11. Feltovich, Nick & Grossman, Philip J., 2015. "How does the effect of pre-play suggestions vary with group size? Experimental evidence from a threshold public-good game," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 263-280.
    12. Adam Zylbersztejn, 2014. "The predominant role of signal precision in experimental beauty contests," Working Papers 1443, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.

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