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Trust and trustworthiness after negative random shocks

Author

Listed:
  • Hernán Bejarano

    (Centro de Investigación y Docencia en Economía de México/Chapman University)

  • Joris Gillet

    (Middlesex University)

  • Ismael Rodríguez-Lara

    (Chapman University/Universidad de Granada)

Abstract

We investigate experimentally the effect of a negative endowment shock in a trust game to assess whether different causes of inequality have different effects on trust and trustworthiness. In our trust game there may be inequality in favor of the second mover and this may (or may not) be the result of a negative random shock (i.e., the outcome of a die roll) that decreases the endowment of the first-mover. Our findings suggest that inequality leads to differences in behavior. First-movers send more of their endowment and second-movers return more when there is inequality. However, we do not find support for the hypothesisthat the cause of the inequality matters. Behavior after the occurrence of a random shock is not significantly different from the behavior when the inequality exists from the outset. Our results highlight that we have to be cautious when interpreting the effects on trust and trustworthiness of negative random shocks that occur in the field (e.g., natural disasters). Our results suggest that these effects are largely driven by the inequality caused by the shock and not by any of the additional characteristics of the shock like saliency or uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Hernán Bejarano & Joris Gillet & Ismael Rodríguez-Lara, 2021. "Trust and trustworthiness after negative random shocks," Working Papers 50, Red Nacional de Investigadores en Economía (RedNIE).
  • Handle: RePEc:aoz:wpaper:50
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    Keywords

    Trust game endowment heterogeneity random shocks inequality aversion experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other

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