Trustworthy by Convention
Social life offers innumerable instances in which trust relations involve multiple agents. In an experiment, we study a new setting called Collective Trust Game where there are multiple trustees, who may have an incentive to coordinate their actions. Trustworthiness has also a strategic motivation, and the trusters' decision depends upon their beliefs about the predominant convention with regard to trustworthiness. In this respect, the Collective Trust Games offers a richer pattern of behavior than dyadic games. We report that the levels of trustworthiness are almost thirty percentage points higher when strategic motivations are present rather than not. Higher levels of trustworthiness also led to higher levels of trust. Moreover, strategic motives appear as a major drive for trustees, comparable in size to positive reciprocity, and more important than concerns for equality.
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