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Trust and Trustworthiness in Anonymous Virtual Worlds

Author

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  • Sascha Fullbrunn
  • Katharina Richwien
  • Abdolkarim Sadrieh

Abstract

Virtual communities like Second Life (SL) represent an economic factor with increasing potential, but may induce behavior that deviates from real-world experience. This article introduces a new experimental design that is based on the trust game (Berg, Dickhaut, & McCabe, 1995), but eliminates the problem of multiple virtual identities. One treatment of the experiment in the virtual world SL was conducted and the results compared to the First Life (FL) control treatment, which was conducted on a university campus. In SL, significantly lower investment levels were found, but significantly higher average returns were found than in the FL treatment or in the literature. It is conjectured that the disparity between trusting and trustworthy behavior is a sign that the social structure in SL is still evolving. It seems plausible that the trustors in a young and developing society cautiously test the extent of trustworthiness, whereas the trustees strategically invest in levels of trustworthiness that are higher than in settled societies to build up a trustworthy environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Sascha Fullbrunn & Katharina Richwien & Abdolkarim Sadrieh, 2011. "Trust and Trustworthiness in Anonymous Virtual Worlds," Journal of Media Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 48-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jmedec:v:24:y:2011:i:1:p:48-63
    DOI: 10.1080/08997764.2011.549432
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    Cited by:

    1. Greiner, Ben & Caravella, Mary & Roth, Alvin E., 2014. "Is avatar-to-avatar communication as effective as face-to-face communication? An Ultimatum Game experiment in First and Second Life," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 374-382.
    2. Lübbe, Ingmar & Bolle, Friedel, 2011. "Who helps whom? Risk taking and solidarity in a virtual world experiment," Discussion Papers 310, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
    3. Hans-Theo Normann & Till Requate & Israel Waichman, 2014. "Do short-term laboratory experiments provide valid descriptions of long-term economic interactions? A study of Cournot markets," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(3), pages 371-390, September.
    4. Christoph Safferling & Aaron Lowen, 2011. "Economics in the Kingdom of Loathing: Analysis of Virtual Market Data," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-30, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    5. Innocenti, Alessandro, 2017. "Virtual reality experiments in economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 71-77.
    6. Gürerk, Özgür & Bönsch, Andrea & Braun, Lucas & Grund, Christian & Harbring, Christine & Kittsteiner, Thomas & Staffeldt, Andreas, 2014. "Experimental Economics in Virtual Reality," MPRA Paper 62073, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 27 Jan 2015.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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