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Virtual trust: An experimental approach



This paper reports decision-making experiments designed to assess to what extent trade in virtual environments can reduce the trust deficit commonly associated with traditional e-commerce compared with ÔphysicalÕ trade. Our approach is based on previous findings that trust is related to the degree of social presence the electronic interface permits. We compare the behaviour of incentivised subjects in trust games conducted in physical laboratory, virtual world and website settings. While the web interface is characterised by least trust and trustworthiness of the three, there is no evidence for lower trust in virtual environments. These results suggest a role for v-commerce in combining the social presence benefits of physical trading environments with the information economies of e-commerce.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Chesney & Swee-Hoon Chuah & Robert Hoffmann, 2009. "Virtual trust: An experimental approach," ICBBR Working Papers 1, International Centre for Behavioural Business Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbr:workpa:1

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    trust; e-commerce; virtual worlds; experiments; social presence;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C88 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Other Computer Software
    • C99 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Other
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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