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Trust in Private and Common Property Experiments

  • James C. Cox

    ()

    (Experimental Economics Center (ExCEN), 14 Marietta Street NW, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA)

  • Elinor Ostrom,

    ()

    (Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 513 North Park Avenue, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA)

  • James M. Walker

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Wylie Hall 105, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA)

  • Antonio Jamie Castillo

    ()

    (Department of Sociology, University of Granada, C/ Rector Lopez Argueta, s/n Granada, 18071, Spain)

  • Eric Coleman

    ()

    (Department of Political Science, Woodburn Hall 210, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA)

  • Robert Holahan

    ()

    (Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, 513 North Park Avenue, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA)

  • Michael Schoon

    ()

    (Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA)

  • Brian Steed

    ()

    (Department of Political Science, Woodburn Hall 210, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47408, USA)

We report the results from a series of experiments designed to investigate behavior in two settings that are frequently posited in the policy literature as generating different outcomes: private property and common property. The experimental settings closely parallel earlier experimental studies of the investment or trust game. The primary research question relates to the effect of the initial allocation of property rights on the level of trust that subjects will extend to others with whom they are linked. We find that assigning the initial endowments as common property of each of N pairs of a first mover and second mover leads to marginally greater trust than when the initial endowments are fully owned by the two individual movers as their respective private property. Subjects’ decisions are also shown to be correlated with attitudes toward trust and fairness that are measured in post-experiment questionnaires.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 75 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 957-975

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:75:4:y:2009:p:957-975
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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  1. Willinger, Marc & Keser, Claudia & Lohmann, Christopher & Usunier, Jean-Claude, 2003. "A comparison of trust and reciprocity between France and Germany: Experimental investigation based on the investment game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 447-466, August.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. James Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2004. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental 0406001, EconWPA.
  4. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  5. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  6. Jacobsen, Eva & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 1996. "Experimental Proof for the Motivational Importance of Reciprocity," Discussion Paper Serie B 386, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Nava Ashraf & Iris Bohnet & Nikita Piankov, 2006. "Decomposing trust and trustworthiness," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 193-208, September.
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