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Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History: A Re-examination

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  • Andreas Ortmann
  • John Fitzgerald
  • Carl Boeing

Abstract

Berg et al. (Games and Economic Behavior, 10, pp. 122–142, 1995) study trust and reciprocity in an investment setting. They find significant amounts of trust and reciprocity and conclude that trust is a guiding behavioral instinct (a “primitive” in their terminology). We modify the way information is presented to participants and, through a questionnaire, prompt strategic reasoning. To our surprise, none of our various treatments led to a reduction in the amount invested. Previously reported experimental results to the contrary did not survive replication. Our results suggest that those by Berg, Dickhaut, and McCabe are rather robust to changes in information presentation and strategic reasoning prompts. We discuss the implications of these findings. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Ortmann & John Fitzgerald & Carl Boeing, 2000. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History: A Re-examination," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 81-100, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:3:y:2000:i:1:p:81-100 DOI: 10.1023/A:1009946125005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    7. Friedman, Daniel, 1998. "Monty Hall's Three Doors: Construction and Deconstruction of a Choice Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 933-946.
    8. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 251-278, October.
    9. Hoffman, Elizabeth & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon L, 1996. "Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 653-660.
    10. Smith, Vernon L, 1991. "Rational Choice: The Contrast between Economics and Psychology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 877-897, August.
    11. Binmore, Ken, 1999. "Why Experiment in Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 16-24, February.
    12. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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